Sunday, 25 March 2007

Population decline

According to the Japanese government and the Institute of Population and Social Security Research, the population of Japan is expected to decline by 20% by 2050, if present trends continue, and by that time about 30% would be over 65. This has been going on since the 1970s.

According to a BBC report: "Japanese women have cited inadequate child care, low part-time wages and long hours worked by their husbands as some of the reasons why they do not have any children, or only have one".

This has been taken further by an article in the Times about two weeks ago which says that the reason for the decline is that Japanese couples just don’t have sex. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, 39.7% of the population aged 16 to 49 (16 seems a bit low to me) haven’t had sex in the last month and the Family Planning Association says that if that is the case, they are unlikely to have sex for a year.

The reasons given are the pressures of work for both men and women, lack of privacy in small apartments, poor communication. It is a serious problem. While the birth rate declines, the population is living longer and more pensioners will have to be supported by the taxpayer.

The population replacement level is considered to be 2.1 children. In Europe it is

Ireland: 1.99
France: 1.90
Norway: 1.81
Sweden 1.75
UK: 1.74
Netherlands: 1.73
Germany: 1.37
Italy: 1.33
Spain: 1.32
Greece: 1.29

So there is a very similar problem in Europe though it hasn’t been suggested that it’s because of not having sex. Various governments have put measures into place to try to counteract the problem. In France there are increasing tax relief according to the number of children, generous child allowances, and reductions of all sorts if the family has three or more children; Germany is proposing generous child care allowances; and Russia too is introducing a programme to encourage couples to have more children.

The various ways the governments in Europe are addressing the problem can be seen here.

Of course it could be everyone is now using those French condoms. It could be a plot by France to take over the world.

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