Declining birth rate

Other Names:
Birth dearth
Below-replacement fertility
Falling birth rate
Lack of pronatalist policies
Inadequate pronatalism
Low birth rate

The declining birth rate of any social group, especially a country as a whole, threatens the survival of its culture in its expansionist form. It has more immediate implications in terms of the proportion of active workers available to support those of pensionable age. Shifts in the size of age groups also have severe implications for the future of particular businesses and services, notably those for young people.


Several countries are experiencing steep population declines, most notably Japan, where projections from the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research (2015) are that the Japanese population will fall by 900,000 a year, reducing the nation’s population by one-third by 2045.  The number of babies per woman in Japan is the same as in Germany, Switzerland and Croatia. The birth rate in Italy, Portugal and Monaco is identical to the birth rate in Japan.

Russia expects to be down to 111 million citizens by 2050, a drop from 143 million in 2018, although that might have as much to do with high mortality rates as with low birth rates.

The birth rate in the USA has been on a steady decline since 2008, with a three percent drop in 2017, a record low for the second consecutive year. Although there are seven percent more women of childbearing age in 2018  than ten years ago, half a million fewer babies were born. While expanded use of birth control may explain the trend, there is also evidence that sexual activity in the US is on the decline.

Broader Problems:
Narrower Problems:
Stagnating school enrolment
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST