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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 May 29 - June 4  > Child birthrate decreasing while non-regular workers increasing
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2013 May 29 - June 4 [LABOR]

Child birthrate decreasing while non-regular workers increasing

June 4, 2013
Japan’s birthrate has stayed at the lowest level in the world for years. Behind this problem lie the harsh working conditions that young people have to face.

The total fertility rate (TFR), the average number of children a woman gives birth during her lifetime, stood at 1.39 in 2011, a decrease from about 2.0 in the early 1970s. Japan’s birthrate ranks 179th among 194 member nations of the World Health Organization.

A government’s survey suggests that young workers’ employment status is affecting their prospects of marriage and becoming parents.

According to the survey by the Ministry of Labour, Health and Welfare, those who started their working careers as non-regular workers are less likely to be married than those who started as regular workers. The marriage rate of male respondents who began their careers as regular workers was 66.7%, whereas 40.5% of men who at first engaged in non-regular jobs are married. Regarding female workers, ratios are 74.7% and 59.4% respectively.

The survey also found that a higher income leads to a higher marriage rate in both genders, and a wife working as a non-regular worker is less likely to have a child than a wife working as a regular worker.

The ratio of non-regular workers to all workers keeps increasing and reached 35.2% in 2011. As a result, workers’ incomes have decreased. For example, the modal class of income of people in their 30s was five-seven million yen a year in 1997 and three-four million yen in 2007.

If the government wants to encourage young people to have children, it should stop weakening labor rights and regulations which lead to a further decrease in workers’ incomes.
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