This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No Baby Steps for Japan

Japan seems to be heading inexorably, and seemingly without much concern, toward depopulation. With a birth rate that is already at or near the lowest in the world, a new report by the Japanese government--reported by BBC News--suggests that fertility will remain very low for the near future, at least.
[E]very five years the government carries out a detailed survey of attitudes to sex and marriage.The latest found that 61% of unmarried men aged 18 to 34 have no girlfriend, and half of women the same age have no boyfriend - a record high.
More than a quarter of the men and 23% of the women said they were not even looking.
Some cited a shortage of money, others a belief that it is impossible to find a good partner once they had passed the age of 25.
Many of the women also said single life suited them better than how they imagined marriage would be.
Gender roles in Japan dictate that women will yield to their husbands to a greater extent than in most rich countries, and they are also apt to find themselves responsible for their husband's aging parents. This almost certainly dampens enthusiasm for marriage.
The survey also found that more than quarter of unmarried men and women between 35 and 39 years old said they had never had sex.
Thus, the rate of out-of-wedlock childbearing is very low in Japan, in sharp contrast to the situation in the US and Europe.


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