Why money will not be enough to address Japan’s baby crisis

Al Jazeera -- Feb 28
Japan is facing one of the world’s major demographic crises, with the number of annual births dipping below 800,000 for the first time in 2022.

The current birth rate of 1.34 is well below the 2.07 necessary to keep the population stable, meaning Japan’s population could drop from 125 million to 88 million by 2065.

Japan is the third most expensive country to raise a child, behind only China and South Korea, despite infamously stagnant wages. The average annual salary, which has barely increased since the late 1990s, is about $39,000, compared with an OECD average of almost $50,000.

In tandem with growing education opportunities and career ambitions — and in an echo of the situation in other advanced economies — Japanese women who are getting married and having children are doing so later in life, which typically means they are unlikely to be able to have larger families.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the average age of mothers giving birth to their first child rose to 30.9 in 2021, the highest since records began in 1950. ...continue reading

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