Japan is Depopulating

The Japanese birthrate hovers around just 1.3 children per woman, far below the level required to maintain a stable population. Thanks to increasing life expectancy, by 2040 “there could almost be one centenarian on hand to welcome each Japanese newborn.” Over the same period, the overall Japanese population is likely to decline by 20 percent, with grim consequences for an already-stagnant economy and an already-strained safety net.

Full article by Ross Douthat on Japan’s demographic collapse in the NYT.

Comments (5)

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  1. Studebaker says:

    Japan will become a nation of robots, all caring for its human retirees. I wonder if this is the scene reminiscent of the movie, Terminator, where Skynet becomes self-aware and revolts against its feeble, centenarian overlords? At the very least, the scenario I have described would make for a semi-bad, Japanese B movie horror film.

  2. Buster says:

    Whenever I hear about declining fertility rate among advanced countries, I always wonder why countries don’t do something about the cost of housing. The high cost of housing is one of the reasons for low birthrates in Japan and Europe. Families need room to raise children. Free daycare and subsidized education isn’t sufficient to mitigate the unaffordable cost of housing. There‚Äôs a reason young families are leaving Portland Oregon and San Francisco, California. It has to do with the fact housing is costly and small.

  3. Joe Barnett says:

    A 20 percent population decline is reminescent of population decline from plagues. Is the population delcine due to cultural factors, or is it a byproduct of the Japanese tax system?

  4. brian says:

    Studebaker, you stole my thunder – I was going to make the Japanese robot analysis.

    Besides building robots, what else will Japan do in the next few decades? Import Chinese and Indonesia workers to do the jobs that Japanese people don’t want to do?

  5. Linda Gorman says:

    Listing on national fertility rates for 2012 at CIA Factbook puts Japan at 1.39. Italy is 1.40, Germany is 1.41, Russia is 1.43. Countries below Japan include Poland, Taiwan, South Korea, Czech Republic, Ukraine, and Singapore.

    Replacement level for industrialized countries is roughly 2.1.