Saturday, July 28, 2007

Reasons for a declining Population

What happens when a population starts to decline? Declining birth-rates are becoming a real problem in much of western Europe and countries like Japan. According to Economist July 28th 2007, 4 out of 9 people now live in a country where the brith-rate is below the replacement ratio (about 2.1 children per couple)

The reasons behind declining birth-rates are a combination of social, cultural and economic factors.

Reasons for decline in Birth rate and Population

  1. One of the main reasons for the falling birth-rate, is the changing expectations of women. Women tend to get married later (if at all). This leave less time for having children
  2. Increased career opportunities for women. Women have gained an increasing number of opportunities to work in highly paid jobs, which were previously the preserve of men. (see: why women still get paid less than men)
  3. Economic Choices. It is perhaps ironic, that increased economic growth and prosperity actually seems to give people a higher priority to the economic costs of having children. Increased prosperity means people have higher expectations about living standards. The cost of raising children is higher than ever before. Therefore, young couples often choose to have 1 or 0 children to save the economic cost of having children. One study suggests the economic cost of having children is upto £200,000 for the first 16 years.

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