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Diversity across Low-Fertility Countries: An Overview


Diversity across Low-Fertility Countries: An Overview (2015).. Rindfuss, Ronald R. & Choe, Minja Kim (Eds.) (pp. 1-13). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.


Economically advanced countries show considerable variability in fertility levels. Those with the very lowest fertility have populations that are rapidly aging, and in some the population is shrinking overall. This introduction previews chapters that describe the situation in eight countries that have experienced varying degrees of fertility decline in recent years: China, Hong Kong (actually a territory, not a country), Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, all with a total fertility rate (TFR) of less than 1.5 children per woman, and Australia, the Netherlands, and the United States, where fertility is now close to the replacement level of 2.1. The discussion focuses on common features across the countries as well as distinctive cultural, institutional, and policy features of each country that might affect fertility levels, either deliberately or inadvertently. Such features include flexibility of the labor markets, the link between marriage and childbearing, factors that help or hinder parents in balancing work and family obligations, gender equity, education systems, the housing markets, and governmental subsidies for the cost of childrearing.


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