The decline of the japanese population ?

Jacques Véron, ” Japan facing a decline in announced of its population “, Population and societies, N°449, October 2008

If fertility is maintained at its current level in Japan, 1.3 children per woman, on average, in the year 3000, the japanese population would be turned off completely. This is one of the projections of alarmist, which opens the first issue (October 2008), Population and society, written by Jacques Véron and devoted to the decline of the population in Japan.

After a baby boom extremely short (not more than three years), the fertility rate in japan has fallen considerably in the post-war period. It dates back to the late 1960s and early 1970s-above the replacement level, before plunging back in 1974. The birth of the first child is increasingly delayed (28.5 years today, compared with 25.1 years in the mid-1950s). As the number of births outside marriage are still very rare – they represent less than 2 % of the births in 2004 – the delay of marriage and the rise of celibacy women have led mechanically to a decrease in fertility. Between 1950 and 2000, the proportion of women who are between 20 and 40 years still unmarried grew strongly. At the same time, mortality has continued to reduce. This reduction in mortality translates into a very rapid increase in the number of centenarians in Japan was less than 1000 in 1980 but more than 32 000 in 2007.

The projections of the national Institute of japanese research on population and social security provide for a reduction of the japanese population of 30 million by 2050 in their baseline scenario, i.e. a total of around 95 million inhabitants in 2050 for Japan’s population, or 32 million less than the $ 128 million in 2004. If the population of Japan decreases in accordance with the scenario selected in the variant average of the projections of 2006, the depopulation will be accompanied by a shift in the age structure. The share of more than 65 years in the total population, which is less than 5 % in 1950 and 25% in 2007, could reach 32 % by 2030 and almost 40 % in 2050.

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