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Developed Countries Having Low Birth Rates
Mar 12, 2023
Our today's edition of Current Affairs is here. Read to know more about Developed Countries Having Low Birth Rates. Also, find the topic's relevance to the UPSC CSE syllabus below:
For Prelims: Current events of national and international importance.
Low birth rates, Population Change, High births, high number of deaths.
For Mains: GS Paper I (population and associated issues)
About Population Change, About the causes of low birth rates in developed nations, Concerns over falling birth rates, Problem of low-birth rate at global level.
A Japanese Prime Minister's advisor recently voiced concern about Japan's low birth rates, claiming that if things "go on like this," the nation will vanish.
Japan released data recently showing that the number of babies born last year fell to a record low after seven years of falling birth rates (the number of births per 1,000 people in a population in a year).
Why are developed countries staring at low birth rates? Comment (150 words, 10 marks)
About Population Change
The net annual population change in a country is calculated by taking the numbers of births and those who have migrated and subtracting the number of deaths and out-migration.
Therefore, births, deaths and migration become the key numbers behind population change.
High births were to help families in agrarian societies, where children also worked.
When basic services became available to more people, deaths were significantly reduced. As births remained high, the population grew.
A high number of deaths is due to prevalent diseases and a lack of infrastructure and services (roads, hospitals and schools) meant as well.
About the causes of low birth rates in developed nations
Demographic theories say that eventually, education and prosperity mean births are also low and the net change in population is again minimal. This is where developed countries are.
There usually are accompanying improvements in this stage, such as improved life expectancy, quality of life, fewer infant deaths and improved health of women at childbirth.
But if deaths exceed births the overall population will reduce year-by-year, as in the case of Japan.
Urbanization and modernisation have meant high living costs, making it expensive to raise kids, and traditional gender roles have caused inequality in the workplace with the task of child-rearing mostly falling on women.
More aging population: If most people in a population are aging or soon to retire, they fall outside the workforce.
Burden on adults: Younger generations would have to support them, with more of their taxes going to pensions, leaving less for the present generation’s needs.
Less workforce: The lack of working-age people would also mean fewer caregivers for the elderly.
Problem of low-birth rate at global level
Japan is facing a dire problem as it has already reached a stage where the elderly are making up a sizable percentage of the population at around 30%.
South Korea is also seeing record-low births and is doing worse. Many young women are opting to not have children or not get married at all.
In China, due to the One-Child Policy in China a shorthand of ‘4-2-1’ was coined among younger people for how four grandparents and two parents become dependent on a single child because the policy continued from 1980 to 2016, affecting generations.
Japan and the countries facing low birth rates should take measures to raise its level in areas such as ‘Flexibility of work styles’, ‘Flexibility in division of roles for household work,’ and ‘Equality of employment opportunities,’.
While both these are developed nations with low birth rates, their situation is less alarming because of better workplace policies and culture around women’s work.
A body can also be formed to find solutions to the problem of low-birth rate. Tax incentives and other financial benefits already exist for those having children, such initiative should be encouraged.
“Women’s empowerment and birth rate policies are the same,” thus both should be simultaneously dealt with.
Indian Government Initiatives:
Mission Parivar Vikas:
In order to significantly increase access to contraceptives and family planning services in 146 high fertility districts with TFR of 3 and above in seven high focus states, the government introduced Mission Parivar Vikas in 2017.
The National Family Planning Indemnity Scheme (NFPIS) was introduced in 2005, and clients are covered under this programme in the case of death, complications, or failure following sterilization.
Compensation Plan for Sterilization Acceptors: Under the plan, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare compensates the beneficiary as well as the service provider (and team) for salary losses incurred when sterilizations are performed starting in 2014.
Which causes low birth rate in developed countries?
Demographic theories say that eventually, education and prosperity mean births are also low and the net change in population is again minimal. This is where developed countries are. There usually are accompanying improvements in this stage, such as improved life expectancy, quality of life, fewer infant deaths and improved health of women at childbirth. But if deaths exceed births the overall population will reduce year-by-year, as in the case of Japan. Urbanization and modernisation have meant high living costs, making it expensive to raise kids, and traditional gender roles have caused inequality in the workplace with the task of child-rearing mostly falling on women.
Do less developed countries have a high birth rate?
In less developed nations, birth rates are high because families need children to labour and support the family financially. Because there aren't enough benefits, children must take care of their elderly parents. Lack of access to and understanding of family planning and contraception.