Recently, the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had gone on record to it’s “now or never” — and he was referring to a reversal of his country’s falling fertility rate, which stands at 1.34 per woman, whereas the broad consensus is that a rate of 2.1 per woman ensures a stable population for a country.
And now, an even grimmer statistic has emerged with South Korea — one of the most prosperous countries in the world going by per capita GDP — recording the world’s lowest fertility rate in 2022 (breaking its own record of the previous year): at 0.78.
The country has been spending billions of dollars in an attempt to address this problem with sops such as childcare subsidies, and yet this alarming freefall continues.
A shrinking population is going to work against a country’s economic prospects, and many are attributing it to a bunch of new-age social issues (such as nuclear families, women not getting married or getting married later in life etc). While it is unrealistic to believe that eco-systems can be altered suddenly, what is intriguing is that state-sponsored benefits are not working to plan.
Structural headwinds facing China's economy, such as adverse demographics, deglobalisation, and debt issues in the real estate sector, are adding to the pessimism
Women and girls play a critical role in science and technology and education plays a vital role in strengthening their participation