In 2018 the birth rate has gone into decline in Germany, Greece, Hungary, Japan and South Korea. This has given rise to great anxiety amongst governments and businesses, complicated by the parallel growth of an aging population, needing care but not generating wealth.

An excellent article in The Guardian on 8 July 2021, and titled ‘Why declining birth rates are good news for life on Earth’, comments ‘In the midst of climate crisis with 8 billion humans on the globe, it’s absurd to say that what’s lacking is babies’. This is on

Depopulation in Japan 

The standard economist’s attitude to population growth has for long been that ‘a growing population is good for the economy’. It is no surprise therefore that the situation in Japan is bewailed by economists. If numbers decline, they argue, economic growth is hobbled and the increasing number of elderly becomes a burden.

Japan’s population is the world’s oldest: the median age is 46 years, and a quarter of the population is over 65. The current fertility rate is 1.4 children per woman: one in four women don’t have children.

There are benefits, however. The proportion of the population that is dependent on the workforce is not dissimilar to that of other countries, but within that group there are twice as many over 65 as children: so less is spent on education. Although Japan’s economy is slow growing, per capita wealth has been rising strongly, as a result of the benefits of economic growth being divided between a smaller number

An article from the Japanese paper Japan Today gives details and praises the benefits of a declining population and can be found at

Population aging and decrease may have socioeconomic and environmental benefits

An article under this heading is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

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