Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Demographic reversal

Japan is now officially shrinking. Last October's census found 19,000 fewer Japanese than the previous year; the first non-wartime year that the population has dropped since censuses began in 1920.

The peak population figure of 127.75 million may well one day be burned into the brains of future students. By 2050 that is expected to fall to 100 million and some alarmist predictions have the last Japanese switching off the lights sometime in the next century.

Low fertility rates and deep-seated mistrust of outsiders mean that Japan's population will continue to shrink. But that country is merely a precursor - most industrial countries have birth rates below replacement levels.

1 comment:

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