The CSS Blog Network

Where Have All Japan’s Young People Gone?

Japanese student in a classroom. Image: ken19991210/Pixabay

This article was originally published by the East Asia Forum on 4 May, 2015.

The remarkable ageing of the populations in most advanced economies is no more evident or precipitate than in Japan. Earlier, Japan’s and other countries’ anti-natal policies encouraged a lowering of birth rates in an attempt to boost the chances of economic advancement.

In a decade or two, the impact of China’s one-child policy, and the subsequent low Chinese fertility rate, will also lead to a rapid decline in its population and acceleration of the ageing of its population. China may get old before it’s rich, as the popular aphorism now suggests, but most agree that while a reversal of the one-child policy may alleviate the decline in its fertility rate witnessed over the past several decades, that is hardly likely to entirely take the pressure off China’s coming demographic crunch. » More

The Missing Link in Understanding Global Trends? Demography

Population density. Data from the G-Econ project gecon.yale.edu/

Image: Anders Sandberg/Flickr

This article was originally published on 11 August 2014 by New Security Beat, the blog of the Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) at the Wilson Center.

Since the end of World War II, a number of the world’s most dramatic political events have resulted from demographic shifts and government reaction to them. Despite this, political demography remains a neglected topic of scholarly investigation. » More

Violent Straw Men? Sex Ratios, Conflict, and a Methodological Disconnect

Kashmiri women watching a rally in Srinagar, courtesy of Kashmir Global/flickr

This article was originally published April 23 2014 by New Security Beat, the blog of the Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) at the Wilson Center.

The emerging subfield of “security demographics” is interested in how demographic trends, such as youth bulges, high or low fertility rates, and sex ratios affect the security and stability of nation-states and regions. In our research, Andrea Den Boer and I have attempted to show that abnormally high sex ratios – situations where there are significantly more men than women – have been a security concern in the past and may affect security and stability in the future.

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Easing One-Child Policy May Be Too Late

Poster promoting the one-child policy, from Zhongdian, China. Image: Flickr.

In an attempt to mitigate a near-certain demographic future of rapid aging, shrinking labor force and critical gender imbalance, the Chinese government has adjusted its one-child policy. The decision demonstrates that, irrespective of a nation’s politico-economic system, governments cannot avoid demography’s juggernaut consequences. This mid-course correction in population policy will have marginal effect as China is aging at a much faster pace than occurred in other countries. This, along with a shrinking workforce and critical gender imbalance, will increasingly tax the government.

The new policy, set at the provincial level, will permit couples to have two children if either the husband or wife is an only child. Under the previous policy, two children were allowed for ethnic minorities, rural families whose firstborn is a daughter, and couples with both spouses as only children.

China instituted its one-child policy in the late 1970s because it feared that its rapidly growing population placed an untenable burden on economic growth and improving standards of living. At the start of the 1970s, China’s fertility rate was above five children per couple and its population was growing at more than 2 percent per year, adding more than 20 million Chinese annually. If the demographic growth of the 1970s had persisted, China would perhaps have added 400 million people more to its current population of 1.39 billion. » More

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