If you come from a large family, you've likely had the chance to experience the chaos that family reunions and even family holidays can be. These days however, many families are having less and less children, with the replacement rate (the number of births per woman of child bearing age) decreasing by the year in many countries around the world. Since the 1950s, the total fertility rate in the world has decreased from an average of 4.95 children per woman, to 2.36 children per woman. There is an inverse relationship between wealth distribution in a society and fertility, called the demographic-economic paradox, which shows that as the standard of living increases, families will choose to have less children. The lowest fertility in the world today is in Singapore (a country with one of the highest GDPs in the world), where the average woman of child bearing age has 0.8 children, while the highest rate is in Niger (a country with one of the lowest GDPs in the world), where the average woman of child bearing age has 7.6 children. While that number may seem shocking to many of us growing up and living in 2015, large families are still an important part of cultures and economies around the world. In largely agrarian societies, a large number of children means that families will have more bodies available for work, attempting to attain a better standard of living. Throughout history, some women have given birth to an astonishing number of children, some so shocking, many doubt the validity of the stories. Read on to find out about the women who have given birth to the largest number of children in their lives.
10 Mrs. Harrison - 35 children
9 Elizabeth Greenhill - 39 children
8 Alice Hooks - 41 children
7 Elizabeth Mott - 42 children
6 Maddalena Granata - 52 children
5 Barbara Stratzmann - 53 children
4 Leontina Albina - 55 children
3 Mrs. Kirillov - 57 children
2 Mrs. Gravata - 62 children
1 Mrs. Vassilyev - 69 children
Little is known about Mrs. Vassilyev (including her first name), but what we do know about her has earned her the title of the 'most prolific mother ever' in the Guinness World Records. She was a peasant that lived in the 18th century in Shuya, Russia, who over the course of her life, gave birth to the highest recorded number of children per one woman - 69 children! These children were a result of 27 births that spanned between the years 1725 and 1765 (a total of 40 years between pregnancies), and included sixteen pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets, and four sets of quadruplets. What's even more unusual is that all but two of her children survived. Can you imagine the family reunions at the Vassilyev household?
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