Convergence to Very Low Fertility in East Asia: Processes, Causes, and Implications

  • Noriko O. Tsuya
  • Minja Kim Choe
  • Feng Wang

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Population Studies book series (BRIEFSPOPULAT)

Also part of the Population Studies of Japan book sub series (POPULAT)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Noriko O. Tsuya, Minja Kim Choe, Feng Wang
    Pages 1-4
  3. Noriko O. Tsuya, Minja Kim Choe, Feng Wang
    Pages 17-28
  4. Noriko O. Tsuya, Minja Kim Choe, Feng Wang
    Pages 29-40
  5. Noriko O. Tsuya, Minja Kim Choe, Feng Wang
    Pages 41-56
  6. Noriko O. Tsuya, Minja Kim Choe, Feng Wang
    Pages 57-59
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 61-66

About this book


This book examines the trends, underlying factors, and policy implications of fertility declines in three East Asian countries: Japan, South Korea, and China. In contrast to Western countries that have also experienced fertility declines to below-replacement levels, fertility decline in these East Asian countries is most notable in its rapidity and sheer magnitude. After a rapid decline shortly after the war, in which fertility was halved in one decade from 4.5 children per woman in 1947 to 2.1 in 1957, Japan's fertility started to decline to below-replacement levels in the mid-1970s, reaching 1.3 per woman in the early 2000s. Korea experienced one of the most spectacular declines ever recorded, with fertility falling continuously from very high (6.0 per woman) to a below-replacement level (1.6 per woman) between the early 1960s and mid-1980s, reaching 1.1 per woman in 2005. Similarly, after a dramatic decline from very high to low levels in one decade from the early 1970s to early 1980s, China's fertility reached around 1.5 per woman by 2005. Despite differences in timing, tempo, and scale of fertility declines, dramatic fertility reductions have resulted in extremely rapid population aging and foreshadow a long-term population decline in all three countries. This monograph provides a systematic comparison of fertility transitions in these East Asian countries and discusses the economic, social, and cultural factors that may account for their similarities and differences. After an overview of cultural backgrounds, economic transformations, and the evolution of policies, the trends and age patterns of fertility are examined. The authors then investigate changes in women's marriage and childbearing within marriage, the two major direct determinants of fertility, followed by an analysis of the social and economic factors underlying fertility and nuptiality changes, such as education, women's employment, and gender relations at home. 


Education Fertility Marriage Population and Family Policies Women’s Employment

Authors and affiliations

  • Noriko O. Tsuya
    • 1
  • Minja Kim Choe
    • 2
  • Feng Wang
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of EconomicsKeio UniversityMinato-kuJapan
  2. 2.East-West CenterHonoluluUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Japan KK 2019
  • Publisher Name Springer, Tokyo
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-4-431-55780-7
  • Online ISBN 978-4-431-55781-4
  • Series Print ISSN 2211-3215
  • Series Online ISSN 2211-3223
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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