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Thursday, September 01, 2005


Mark Thoma

South Korea has the same problem:

Our Own Population Shock Will Come Soon Enough Japan's population decreased by about 30,000 people during the first half of this year because deaths now outnumber births in the famously long-lived island country. The start of the population decrease has come two years earlier than expected in a development that has shocked Japanese society to the core, so much so that it has suddenly turned into the biggest issue in the upcoming general elections.

For over a decade Japan has taken measures to counter low birthrates, beginning with the 1994 "angel plan" that aimed to improve day care so that women can continue to work while bringing up their children. To no avail: the total fertility rate, or lifetime births per woman, kept declining from 1.54 in 1990 to 1.29 in 2003. As a consequence, Japan has enshrined the civic duty of "harboring the dream of family and child rearing" in law, in addition to significantly boosting child support.

We cannot dismiss Japan’s population shock as just a problem in another country. Korea’s National Statistical Office on Wednesday announced that our own total fertility late plummeted to 1.16, lower than Japan's and among the lowest in the world. Births last year numbered no more than 476,052, the lowest since relevant statistics began in 1970. The figure in 1970 was 1 million.

The government expects population decrease to start around 2020. If the present trend continues, however, that point is bound to come sooner. The young population aged 15-29 has already been falling by an annual average of 260,000 since 2000. The population of the most active workers between 25 and 49 is expected to go down from 2008. Though youth unemployment is a big social issue, it will not be long before young workers are hard to find.

Edward Hugh

It's funny isn't it Mark, once you waken up to some of this, you suddenly start noticing more.

Here are the countries which are top of the hit parade in terms of median age and fertility:

Japan 42.64 1.3
Germany 42.16 1.3
Italy 41.77, 1.3
Finland 40.97 1.8
Bulgaria 40.66 1.2
Sweden 40.60 1.7
Belgium 40.55 1.6
Austria 40.44 1.4
Greece 40.50 1.3

S Korea and the other asian tigers are low on fertility but still relatively young. Apart from Germany and Austria the worst afected regions are Central & Eastern europe, and Southern Europe. The big, big, big disaster area is going to be Russia, since apart from facing strong population decline, Russia is still very, very poor.

pandora jewellery

Interesting perspective on India ... thanks!

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