To sustain a population, the fertility rate of its women must be 2.1 children. Japan's rate, 1.27 children per woman, is not two-thirds of what is required to replace her present population.
In 1960, when Japan was striding to overtake West Germany as the No. 2 economy, 49 percent of her people were under 25 years of age. Less than 8 percent was over 60.
Today, only 23 percent of Japan's population is under 25, more than 30 percent of all Japanese are over 60, and Japan's median age has shot up to 45. Japan is projected to lose 3 million people this decade, and nearly 6 million in the 2020s.
To put it starkly, Japan is aging, shrinking and dying.
In 2050, less than 19 percent of all Japanese will be under 25, while 44 percent will be over 60. The median age will reach 55, and this assumes a U.N.-projected rise in the fertility rate that is nowhere in sight.
Writing on the decline in Japanese students in U.S. universities, The Washington Post reports: "The number of children (in Japan) under the age of 15 has fallen for 28 consecutive years. The size of the nation's high school graduating class has shrunk by 35 percent in two decades."
Where have all the children gone?
Yet what is happening to Japan is not unique to Japan.
Russia's population is shrinking at two to three times the pace of Japan's. She is losing half a million people a year. Germany and Ukraine are running Japan a close race. Only immigration from Africa, South Asia and the Middle East enables Britain to project population growth. Native-born Brits are departing and dying.
Indeed, every one of the East Asian and European nations that scored highest on the international tests for math and science has a fertility rate that assures an aging and shrinking population.
Where is world population growth to come from?
Between now and 2050, Africa's population will double to 2 billion. Latin America and Asia will add over a billion people.
Just six nations, Muslim and poor -- Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey -- are expected to add almost 500 million people to their combined populations by 2050.
If demography is destiny, the sun is not only setting in the Land of the Rising Sun. The sun is setting in the West.
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