According to United Nations Population Fund, the total population of the
world was 7262310000 by 2016, and the population of China was
Subsidising parenthood appears to work wonders
United States 美国
In the United States, the fertility rate has reached a record low of
1.76. The fertility rate in the United States fell to an all-time low
last year. Americans’ average life expectancy, meanwhile, sits at a
relatively high 78.7 years.
（Chart 1: The Total population of China by 2016）
Jan 9th 2018 | NAGICHO
A PATCHWORK of nondescript houses nestled at the foot of a mountain,
Nagicho looks like an ordinary Japanese town. On closer inspection,
something extraordinary marks it out: babies. Yuki Fukuda is one of many
local mothers with three children. The bump under her winter coat
indicates that another is on the way, part of a baby bonanza that has
seen the town’s fertility rate double since 2005.
Many experts say the 2008 economic recession and high college tuition
are contributing to this trend.
（Chart 2: The population of every province of
Not surprisingly, reporters have flocked to this remote corner of the
country to see if there is something that promotes fecundity in the
water flowing down from Mount Nagi. The cause appears to be
more prosaic: economics. Alarmed by the dearth of children, the local
government increased incentives to have babies. The fertility rate rose
from1.4 (meaning that the average woman will have 1.4 children in her
lifetime, roughly the national rate) to 2.8 in 2014. Provisional figures
suggest the rate has since fallen back to 1.9, but even if correct, that
remains well above the national average.
At present, China’s population accounts for 1/5 of the world, but the
number of newborns only accounts for 1/10 of the world. The proportion
of China’s population in the world will decline significantly in
nondescript: not easily described: having no special or interesting
qualities, parts, etc.
According to a 2018 survey in?The New York Times, however, adults who
want kids say they sometimes end up having few, or zero, kids due to the
high cost of childcare. The average cost of full-time childcare exceeds
$10,000 a year in several states, according to Child Care Aware of
The main reason for the present situation of the population was the
One-child policy which was introduced in the 1970s and became the basic
state policy in 1980s. According to the United Nations population
research data, The fertility rate in the mainland of China is 1.63,it
means each woman has only 1.63 children on average. It is a low level
compared to the whole world.
fecund: producing or able to produce many babies, young animals, or
The US birth rate has remained below “replacement level” since the
1970s, which means not enough children are being born to keep the
population at a steady level.
（Chart 3: The natural growth rate, birth rate and death rate of China
from 1997 to 2015）
prosaic: dull or ordinary
Population ageing is an increasing median age in the population of a
region due to declining fertility rates and/or rising life expectancy.
Most countries have rising life expectancy and an ageing population
(trends that emerged first in More Economically Developed Countries, but
which are seen now in Less Economically Developed Countries). This is
the case forevery country in the world except the 18 countries
designated as “demographic outliers” by the UN. The aged population is
currently atits highest level in human history. The UN predicts the rate
of population ageing in the 21st century will exceed that of the
previous century. The number of people aged 60 years and over has
tripled since 1950, reaching 600 millionin 2000 and surpassing 700
million in 2006. It is projected that the combined senior and geriatric
population will reach 2.1 billion by 2050. Countries vary significantly
in terms of the degree and pace of ageing, and the UN expects
populations that began ageing later will have less time to adapt to its
dearth: the state or condition of not having enough of something
Last year, the US Census Bureau wrote in a paper that women who have
kids between the ages of 25 and 35 have more difficulty in getting fair
pay than women who give birth outside of that range. American women are
now having children older than ever.
（Chart 4: Population age structure in 2000&2010）
Mrs Fukuda will receive a “celebratory” gift of ¥300,000 ($2,682) when
she gives birth. A subsidised baby-sitting service is available for just
¥1,800 a day, along with subsidised car seats and other baby
accessories. When her children reach secondary school, she will receive
¥90,000 a year for each one who attends. In theory, this stipend is to
cover the cost of getting children to school, especially for people who
live relatively far away. And whereas usually all but the poorest and
the old in Japan have to pay 30% of their health-care bills (with the
national government picking up the rest), in Nagicho the local
government pays the 30% for children.
The aging population is a change process of the age structure of
population, and it is a product of the development of human society on a
certain stage. The statistic data from the fifth population census of
China show that the proportion of the aged (over 60) to the total
population in China is 10.2%, which means that China has become an aged
Other initiatives are more creative. The town relies on a network of
volunteers to help keep its two nurseries open.Businesses that move to
the town receive rent-free land—a gesture that has lured at least three
companies since 2014, says Yoshitaka Kumagai, a local government
official. The city is also offering a clutch of refurbished or newly
built apartments and houses for rent at subsidised rates.
Spain has more deaths than births each year, and some towns are already
stipend: a usually small amount of money that is paid regularly to
（Chart 5: The age structure of China from 1997 to 2015 ）
Spanish women tend to give birth later in life than most other European
women, and Spaniards also live longer than anyone else in the European
Union. On average, women in Spain have 1.5 children.
As for the population structure, the proportion ofelderly people is
becoming bigger and bigger, but the proportion of child is less.
Mr Kumagai insists all this largesse has merely boosted the share of the
town’s ¥4bn annual budget devoted to raising the fertility rate from 2%
to 3%. Like thousands of other shrinking communities across Japan, the
town was desperate, he says. Nagicho has lost a third of its population
since 1955, and a third of the 6,100 residents who remain are over 65.
“We’re trying to hold the line at 6,000 people,” he says.
In Spain’s northeastern Aragon region, one village already shows what a
demographic time bomb can look like. The only remaining residents of La
Estrella are two people in their 80s.
（Chart 6: Dependency Ratio of China from 1997 to 2015）
The town’s dilemma is replicated across the country. Deaths outstripped
births by a record 300,000 in 2016; government projections say the
population of 127m could plummet by almost a third over the next 50
years. Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, has pledged to raise the
fertility rate to 1.8. To that end, much of the ¥2trn in extra public
spending approved by the Cabinet last month is slated for child care.
However, at the present stage, China is still in the early stage of
socialism and is still a middle-income developing country. In this
context, the aging of China’s population reflects its unique
characteristics: aged before rich, the aging population is getting
larger and faster.
largesse: the act of giving away money or the quality of a person who
gives away money
Last year, the Spanish government hired a special commissioner to
determine how to reverse falling birth rates.
With the development of medical technology and living standard, the
length of life becomes longer.
slate: to arrange or plan for something to happen, someone to be
（Chart 7: Life expectancy of China from 1996 to 2015）
Could Nagicho be replicated elsewhere? Hiroko Kaihara, who moved to the
town years ago with her three children and works in one of the
nurseries, thinks not. There is a slowness to life that is attractive,
she says, and a sense of community. “Mothers feel safe having more
children; it’s not easy to create those conditions.” Mrs Fukuda says she
also struggles to put her finger on why families are larger. The money
helps, she admits, but that is not the main reason. Perhaps there is
something in the water after all.
China is facing the huge challenge of the aging of thepopulation.
Correction (January 10th2018): This article originally gave
Nagicho’sannual budget as ¥48bn. It is in fact less than ¥4bn. We have
also changed the piece to clarify which share of the town’s budget is
being spent on improving the fertility rate.
A rise in immigration to Italy has not helped the country steer clear of
becoming a demographic time bomb.
As the aging of the population goes ahead of modernization, the whole
society, including aging people themselves, is facing a huge challenge,
China now is faced the burden of an elder society. The great pressure of
the aging of the population has tested the government’s ability to plan
for the aged. China is not a developed country, the development of the
social and cultural welfare undertakings is not suitable for the agingof