Over 40% Of Japanese Women May Never Have Kids

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Aug 17, 2023 - 02:40 AM

Some 42% of adult Japanese women may never reproduce, according to a report by Nikkei, citing a not-yet published estimate by a government research group.

An unusually high percentage of Japanese women choosing not to have children could hurt the financial health of the nation's social security program.    © Reuters

According to Japan's National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, the medium scenario projects that 33.4% of women born in 2005 will go through their childbearing years without having children, while the most optimistic case is that 24.6% won't reproduce.

The percentage is even higher for men - with as many as half of 18-year-old males projected to never have children.

Mysteries abound...

It's not just Japan, either:

The share of people without children is rising in such other developed economies as the U.S. and Europe. This has been attributed to a shift in values as more people focus on self-fulfillment rather than having kids.

In these countries, around 10% to 20% of women born in 1970 never had children. The share in Japan is significantly higher at 27% and could end up at more than double Western levels if American and European rates stay around their current levels. -Nikkei

That said, the number of childless adults has begun to drop in the US, UK and Germany, as efforts to encourage people to balance work with raising a family have encouraged many to have at least one child.

Japan, meanwhile, has begun efforts to create a better environment for prospective parents with similar work-style reforms.

You can lead a horse to water...

Despite attempts at government 'stimulation' to reproduce, many young people are simply less interested in marriage and children right now, with stagnant wages and uncertainty about the future are cited as reasons.

The Japanese institute's 2021 National Fertility Survey found a surge in the number of unmarried young people who are fine with the concept of remaining single for life.

"There needs to be an urgent discussion on building a social safety net in every area -- including pensions, medical care, nursing care and living assistance -- that does not disadvantage people without family, along with funding," said social security expert Takashi Oshio, a professor at Hitotsubashi University's Institute of Economic Research.

China and South Korea have also seen plunging birthrates over the past several years - which began years later than Japan's.

What's going on?