Masaki Shibutani
Apr 23 · Last update 6 mo. ago.
What should the government do as a solution to the declining birthrate?
What should the government do as a solution to the declining birthrate?
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Immigration, immigration, immigration….
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Providing better childcare system
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Monetary benefits as a realistic support
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A declining birthrate could just be a sign of a modern society
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Immigration, immigration, immigration….

Japanese society is ageing rapidly, at one of the fastest rates in the world. With a low birthrate, shrinking workforce, long life expectancy and a baby boomer generation fast approaching retirement age, Japan’s younger people are going to be unable to fund the countries social welfare system. This decline in social welfare funding is severely aggravated by a declining birthrate, and an ageing population with one of the world’s highest life expectancy rates. The strain this puts on society is threefold, placing a bigger burden on an already stretched health-care system, causing a shrinking work force and an overall drop in productivity. All of these factors furthers a loss in tax revenue for the Japanese government, which paints a concerning picture considering Japan’s past twenty years in a largely stagnant economy. While Japan has recently shown signs of growth, ignoring this current state of affairs risks plunging further into recession.

It is too difficult, too complicated, too slow and not cost effective to incentivise the Japanese population to have more children. The government need to turn to immigration to have an instant boost in taxpayer revenue to resolve such issues. migrationpolicy.org/article/its-population-ages-japan-quietly-turns-immigration

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Daniel Halliday
Sep 6
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DH edited this paragraph
Japanese society is ageing rapidly, at one of the fastest rates in the world. With a low birthrate, shrinking workforce, long life expectancy and a baby boomer generation fast approaching retirement age, Japan’s younger people are going to be unable to fund the countries social welfare system. This decline in social welfare funding is severely aggravated by a declining birthrate, and an ageing population with one of the world’s highest life expectancy rates. The strain this puts on society is threefold, placing a bigger burden on an already stretched health-care system, causing a shrinking work force and an overall drop in productivity. All of these factors furthers a loss in tax revenue for the Japanese government, which paints a concerning picture considering Japan’s past twenty years in a largely stagnant economy. While Japan has recently shown signs of growth, ignoring this current state of affairs risks plunging further into recession.
Providing better childcare system

It seems that people nowadays tend to delay having children when comparing to the past; in Japan, the average age of first-time mothers increased nearly 5 years in the last 60 years [1]. Also in England and Wales, “the average age of parents increased by almost 4 years over the last 4 decades” [2]. This is due to various factors including changing standards in society, increased urbanisation, more education and greater access to contraception.

However if we focus on this phenomenon stemming mainly from the increasing number of women holding a full time job in modern society’s working environment, then the main improvement should be to provide a better childcare system to facilitate working mothers. This doesn't simply have to include better funding of the childcare sector, but could include, for example, an easier process in claiming childcare benefits, and prioritising mothers with children in the use of public transport. Anything a government can do to improve the conditions for working mothers would make it cheaper and more convenient to raise children, and therefore would naturally encourage this process.

The problem with working mothers can mainly be the lack of time, therefore enabling them to continue working while carrying out the duties of motherhood is essential. For mothers to compete equally in a working environment they may also need some degree of flexibility in the work and job life, maybe needing to occasionally work late. It is imperative then for mothers to have to support, flexible childcare, after school clubs and babysitters to facilitate this. This sector could be subsidised by the government to facilitate improvements for workers, and mothers, with the added knock-on effect of increasing birthrates.

[1] nenji-toukei.com/n/kiji/10063/%E7%AC%AC1%E5%AD%90%E5%87%BA%E7%94%A3%E5%B9%B4%E9%BD%A2 [2] Office for National Statistics - destatis.de/EN/PressServices/Press/pr/2018/03/PE18_115_122.html;jsessionid=D80E4519C7EE6AC70A3B6BF48485845E.InternetLive1

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Daniel Halliday
Aug 12
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DH edited this paragraph
However if we focus on this phenomenon stemming mainly from the increasing number of women holding a full time job in modern society’s working environment, then the main improvement should be to provide a better childcare system to facilitate working mothers. This doesn't simply have to include better funding of the childcare sector, but could include, for example, an easier process in claiming childcare benefits, and prioritising mothers with children in the use of public transport. Anything a government can do to improve the conditions for working mothers would make it cheaper and more convenient to raise children, and therefore would naturally encourage this process.
Monetary benefits as a realistic support

The solution varies in each society since the cause of the decline is rooted in the problems each government comprises. However, a mutual issue could be argued that the most advanced countries (mostly economically developed) are suffering from an economic depression in the past few decades. The report published by the Economist, states that it is calculated to cost 20-30% of household income to raise a single child in Europe [1]. This only proves that having children could be a considerable risk during an economic recession. Therefore the instant benefits of monetary support would probably be an immediate solution in the minds of a financially unstable generation of parents. This system has been put into practice in Singapore where the government offers couples having children S$6,000 per child for the first two children and more for the third. This simple incentive seem to be working somewhat, as "there were 33,793 Singaporean babies born in 2015, the highest figure in 13 years."

[1] economist.com/news/international/21659763-people-rich-countries-can-be-coaxed-having-more-children-lazy-husbands-and [2] channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/pm-lee-encourages-more-singaporeans-to-have-children-8104960

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E. Sato
Aug 10
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[1] https://www.economist.com/news/international/21659763-people-rich-countries-can-be-coaxed-having-more-children-lazy-husbands-and [2] https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/pm-lee-encourages-more-singaporeans-to-have-children-8104960
A declining birthrate could just be a sign of a modern society

There is currently a close link observed between economic growth and a countries birthrate. However in a world with a massive population and ongoing environmental problems linked closely to difficulties in providing food, water and amenities to such large populations, should we not be asking the questions: - In a world of finite resources, is there not a limit to economic economic growth? - In this current climate should sustainability be of more importance than economic growth?

Birthrates have fallen in many developed countries as a result of improved education, health care, and access to contraception. As it stands the countries with the worst sanitation, access to food and water, access to healthcare and education are the countries with the highest birth rates. In many developing countries birthrates are higher in correlation with infant mortality rates. Child labour can also be a natural fact of life in rural populations making higher birthrates particularly beneficial to these communities. But moving forward, as some of these countries become more “developed”, an important question also arrises: Do we not wish for the development of adequate education, health care and contraception in these countries also? If this were the case these populations would have less children out of necessity or as an accident, conception could become more of a choice, and naturally their birth rate would decline just as it has in developed nations.

So as developed countries will progress further with advances in technology, especially AI, it is likely that this old link between a societies economy and birthrate will become less relevant economically also. Is the declining birthrate not just a sign of development, a natural shift in an overpopulated society, a shift towards population stability? With this in mind, maybe less should be done regarding birthrate, and more should be done about advancing technology, sustainability and aiding the progression of less economically developed countries.

References: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4255510 scientificamerican.com/article/human-overpopulation-still-an-issue-of-concern

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Daniel Halliday
Aug 10
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DH edited this paragraph
Birthrates have fallen in many developed countries as a result of improved education, health care, and access to contraception. As it stands the countries with the worst sanitation, access to food and water, access to healthcare and education are the countries with the highest birth rates. In many developing countries birthrates are higher in correlation with infant mortality rates. Child labour can also be a natural fact of life in rural populations making higher birthrates particularly beneficial to these communities. But moving forward, as some of these countries become more “developed”, an important question also arrises: Do we not wish for the development of adequate education, health care and contraception in these countries also? If this were the case these populations would have less children out of necessity or as an accident, conception could become more of a choice, and naturally their birth rate would decline just as it has in developed nations.
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