East Asian Childbearing Patterns and Policy Developments
Version of Record online: 28 SEP 2010
© 2010 The Population Council, Inc.
Population and Development Review
Volume 36, Issue 3, pages 579–606, September 2010
How to Cite
Frejka, T., Jones, G. W. and Sardon, J.-P. (2010), East Asian Childbearing Patterns and Policy Developments. Population and Development Review, 36: 579–606. doi: 10.1111/j.1728-4457.2010.00347.x
- Issue online: 28 SEP 2010
- Version of Record online: 28 SEP 2010
Childbearing behavior in East Asian countries has changed rapidly during the past half century from an average of five to seven children per family, to replacement-level fertility, and subsequently to unprecedentedly low levels, the lowest in the world. This article analyzes fertility trends in Hong Kong, Japan, singapore, south Korea, and Taiwan using cohort fertility data and methods, then examines social and economic causes of the childbearing trends, and surveys policies pursued to reverse the fertility trends. Postponement of childbearing started in the 1970s with continuously fewer delayed births being “recuperated,” which resulted in ultra-low fertility. A rapid expansion of education and employment among women in a patriarchal environment has generated a stark dilemma for women who would like to combine childbearing with a career. Policy responses have been slow, with a more serious attempt to address issues in recent years. Thus far public and private institutions are not devoting sufficient attention to generating broad social change supportive of parenting.