Friday, July 24, 2009

Demographic Link Dump - Asia Edition

In Japan, at least some companies are moving towards facilitating parenthood. It is not clear how extensive the phenomenon is or how effective it will be, but it seems like a sensible step. Interestingly, the programs seem exclusively focused on women. Presumably, Japanese men will continue to be expected to work late, leaving the burden of childrearing to the women. I'm not sure how appealing this is to Japanese ladies.

The local government in Shanghai is growing concerned about the city's rapid aging and is encouraging those who are eligible under China's one-child policy to have that second baby. I personally doubt the one-child policy will last for another decade but I'm not convinced that lifting it would change that much either.

In South Korea, producers of baby formula are struggling because of the low birth rate and so are the nation's maternity clinics: "The declining number of newborns is leading to a declining number of clinics. The country had 1,907 maternity clinics in 2005... ...and 1,669 last year. The clinics that remain in business seem to be surviving on side jobs rather than their traditional business of delivering babies. The message boards at, an online community for pregnant women, are flowing comments from frustrated would-be women forced to move from clinic to clinic. Many mid-sized maternity hospitals are found to be blatantly refusing to deliver babies, instead focusing on easier and more profitable services such as skin care and cosmetic surgeries. .... ... The Health Insurance Service believes that only 30 percent of the country's maternity hospitals have capable personnel or equipment to deliver babies."

In Malaysia, the fertility rate continues to decline and it's now at 2.6, declining at about 0.1 a year. Strangely, the Malaysian Health minister attributes this to increasing medical problems with infertility among Malaysian women.


J said...

Of course older women are less fertile and have more problems. In Europe some 30% of the women now have problems to get pregnant.

Aslak said...

J, you may be right about Europe, but Malaysia is still a very young society. There is no good reasons to attribute Malaysian fertility decline to medical fertility rather than the normal demographic transition that almost all developed countries have gone through.

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