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 View Rate : 1324 #            News Code : TTime- 167985        Print Date : Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Japanese child numbers fall for 27th year to new low

TOKYO (AFP) -- The number of children in Japan has fallen for the 27th straight year to hit a new low, the government said Monday in a sign of the country's rapidly ageing population.

Children aged 14 or younger numbered 17,250,000 as of April 1, down by 130,000 from a year earlier, the internal affairs ministry said in an annual survey released to coincide with the May 5 Children's Day national holiday.

The figure is the lowest since 1950 when comparable data started.

The ratio of children to the total population sank for 34 years in a row to 13.5 percent, also a record low, the ministry said.

Japan has one of the world's oldest populations with many young people deciding that families place a burden on their lifestyles and careers.

Japan's population has been shrinking since 2005 but the country is not producing enough children to prevent the drop.

The average number of children a woman has during her lifetime has been hovering around 1.3, well below the 2.07 seen as necessary to maintain the population at current levels.

A government report on the falling birthrate warned in April that Japan's workforce could shrink by more than one-third to 42.28 million by 2050 if the country fails to halt the birthrate decline.


 

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