Dalende geboortecijfers infographic
Graphic shows falling birth rates in selected countries.


Wereldwijd dalende geboortecijfers

By Duncan Mil

August 9, 2023 - Japan posted the fewest births in its history last year, with estimates that four in 10 women may never have children. Birthrates are critical in developed countries with rapidly ageing populations.

The Nikkei newspaper reported Wednesday that 42 per cent of women would remain childless, citing an estimate by Japan’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.

Birth rates are measured using the “crude birth rate” (CBR), which represents the number of live births per 1,000 individuals.

Japan recorded the fewest births in its history in 2021 with a CBR of just 6.57, down 76.8 per cent since 1950 when the CBR was 28.34 per cent.

An eight-year decline has seen births fall from 1.03 million in 2013 to 818,509 in 2021.

China has seen an even more significant 81 per cent drop in its birth rate since 1950, from a CBR of 41 to just 7.6 in 2021.

The UN’s World Population Prospects reports that average global fertility has dropped from five births in 1950 to just 2.3 births in 2021.

The world’s population has a “replacement rate” of 2.1, at which the world’s population is stable. Today it is 2.3 and falling.

The most significant consequence of declining birth rates is a rapidly ageing population. With fewer children being born, the proportion of elderly individuals increases relative to the working-age population -- challenging social welfare systems, healthcare, and pension schemes.

PUBLISHED: 09/08/2023; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images