Low Fertility Trap

In 2020, the number of expected babies per South Korean woman fell to 0.84 in 2020 which is down from the previous record low of 0.92 in 2019.

The capital city Seoul has almost 20% of the population of South Korea. Seoul had the lowest birth rate of 0.64.

The TFR (total Fertility rate) represents the average number of children a woman would potentially have, were she to fast-forward through all her childbearing years in a single year, under all the age-specific fertility rates for that year. In other words, this rate is the number of children a woman would have if she was subject to prevailing fertility rates at all ages from a single given year and survives throughout all her childbearing years. TFR replacement level is 2.1.

After WW2, Japan had a baby boom from 1946 to 1948, and the total fertility rate exceeded 4.0. By the end of the 1950s, Japan’s fertility rate had dropped to a replacement level of 2.1. In 1989, Japan’s fertility rate hit a new low of 1.57, it shocked the Japanese government and people, and it was called the “1.57 crisis.” By 1995, Japan’s fertility rate was below 1.5 for the first time, and in 2005 it dropped to 1.26. Pro-childbirth policies let Japan’s fertility rise back to 1.45 in 2015. Japan’s fertility rate has again fallen to around 1.4.

Currently, Japan’s retirement age is 65. In April, 2022 a new law will let companies have employees to work until the age of 70. They are considering a policy to eliminate retirement ages and support lifetime employment. There is finally support for foreign immigration.

China’s fertility rates from 2017 to 2019 were 1.58, 1.495, and 1.47. This is with the fertility catch-up with the change from a one-child to a two-child policy.

China had less than 18 million annual births over the last decade. In 2019, China recorded 14.65 million newborns. In 2020 there were only 10.03 million. 2020 was an anomaly because of COVID.

China’s central bank is calling for the lifting the two-child limit. China’s working-age population is shrinking and the working-age population could drop by 15% by 2050.

China’s working-age population is about 800 million and could drop to about 680 million in 2050.

South Korea’s working-age population is about 36.3 million and will drop to about 30.4 million by 2050.

SOURCES- Reuters, Baidu
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com