The news article Japan, Short on Babies, Reaches a Worrisome Milestone published by the New York Times on 2nd June 2017 portrays the current condition of the population constitution in Japan. In this case, the article talks of reducing birthrates way below the replacement rate (Soble, 2017). The result is a projected decrease in economic growth as the labor supply reduces. The population of Japan is constituting of more old people than young people as the birthrates have fallen below one million babies per year in the last decade. The impaired growth of the economy is related to the fact that the country gets more expenditure through pension and health care programs for the older population as there are less number of young people entering the job market. The government of Japan has even tried to raise the retirement years for the older employees in a bid to sustain the economy more.
Relating the portrayed event to the concepts and theories behind communities and populations, the demographic transition theory relates well to the current even in Japan. Notably, the demographic transition is related to a period of robust population growth in which case, the population is seen to shift from high fertility and mortality rates to low fertility and mortality rates (Blue and Espenshade, 2012). Soble (2017) recorded that the birthrates in Japan, which are closely related to the fertility rates of the population, have gravely reduced and does not fail to relate the prevailing condition to the demographic transition.
According to Ranganathan, Swain, and Sumpter (2015), there have been close correlations between the economic growth of a country and demographic concepts related to mortality, fertility and the GDP growth indicator. As already mentioned, the variances in the number of births per year in Japan has reduced greatly over the last decade. The population has thus been on a negative trend whereby it is projected to drop from 128 million in 2010 dropped by a million in a period of five years through 2015. The population has been projected by demographers to drop to around 80 million by the year 2060 (Soble, 2015). Mainly, the negative trend in the population can be attributed reduced number of births with 40% fewer newborns in Japan in the year 2016as compared to the number of newborns in 1949.
Thus, it becomes clear that there is an ongoing scenario of a demographic transition occurring in Japan which is categorized by a decreasing young people population. Even though Japan still has a strong economy, the prevailing poor demographics are prone to deteriorate the growth of the economy as the number of retirees increase as the majority of the population is above 65 years (Soble, 2015). The facts that there are support issues on immigration activities and that the women in Japan are marrying at older ages as they venture into careers mean that the problem of reduced birthrates is prone to continue. Demographic transition will continue and so will economic growth be impaired.
In conclusion, the demographic transition in Japan already shows grave effects on the housing and job markets, long-term investment plans and consumer spending within the country. Consequently, the economy of the country is at stake. As the number of childbirths decreases, the growth of the economy is projected to reduce. Therefore, there is need to adjust the status quo of the country through the establishment of birth-encouraging initiatives and through automation practices to increase productivity.
Blue, L., and Espenshade, T., J. (2012). Population Momentum across the Demographic Transition. Population and Development Review, 37(4), 721-747
Ranganathan, S., Swain R., B., and Sumpter, D., J., T. (2015). The Demographic Transition and Economic Growth: Implications for Development Policy. Palgrave Communications Journal, 1(15033), 1-8. Doi: 10.1057/palcomms.2015.33
Soble (2017). Japan, Short on Babies, Reaches a Worrisome Milestone. Nytimes.com. Retrieved 7th July 2017. From https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/02/business/japan-population-births.html?referer=
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