Saudi Arabia's annual birthrate has decreased drastically from 7.2 children per woman to 2.4 between 1960 and 2016, in spite of low reported use of contraception.  

Younger women are having less children than the previous generation, despite the economic prosperity the kingdom has enjoyed for the last 50 years.

It's unclear what has caused the significant decrease. Still, the availability of family planning methods, the rise of literacy, and changing economic realities offer insight.

In the past half a century, the kingdom has developed at a rapid rate. Massive cities and increased opportunities have contributed to the economic prosperity of the Saudi population.

Despite the dramatic decrease in fertility rates, less than 30 percent of fertile married women in the kingdom use family planning methods, according to official government statistics [PDF].

This varies by age demographic, reaching a high at 33.9 percent among women aged 35 to 39. 

Overall, Saudi Arabia has a population of just over 20 million nationals [PDF] (there are also nearly 12 million non-Saudis in the kingdom). The population is currently increasing by an average of 2.54 percent. 

As an economic recession is set to hit the kingdom this year, and the government plans to further curb subsidies and implement taxes, young Saudis will likely continue to see the necessity of smaller families moving forward.