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Demography: Japan's birthrate falls to lowest level in history

Geoff Riley

27th December 2018

Japan's population is decline and ageing at a rapid rate. New data shows that the natural decline in their population was nearly 500,000 in 2018 with fewer than one million babies born for the third year in a row. The question posed by the Economist here is pertinent. " How does a country cope if more than half of new babies will be centenarians?

Japan: Population growth from 2007 to 2017 (compared to the previous year

The IMF's latest analysis says that "demographic headwinds—the ageing and shrinking of Japan’s population—are set to intensify." as the share of the population aged 65 years and older will rise from its current three-in-ten persons to almost four-in-ten persons. There are numerous potential consequences - for competitiveness, economic growth and government finances. There are also important commercial opportunities - hinted at in this article on how the internet of things might be used to harness some of the challenges of an ageing population.

The FT has this excellent article on some of the consequences of a declining population in Japan including a drop of more than twenty percent in the number of school children which has led to the closure of many primary schools and kindergartens.

Where 100 is the new 80

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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