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Population and Health: Fertility Transition in Asia

 

For many years, fertility research at the East-West Center focused on the high-fertility countries of Asia and on evaluation of government efforts to lower fertility, primarily by means of family planning programs. Fertility continues to be high or moderately high in some countries, mainly in South Asia and, to a lesser extent, in Southeast Asia. In many countries, mainly in East Asia, fertility has fallen to below-replacement levels (i.e., below two children per woman)—so low, in fact, that many governments are now trying to raise fertility. Consequently the Center's research on fertility increasingly focuses on the causes and consequences of very low fertility and on evaluation of government efforts to raise fertility. Work is currently in progress in four areas:

Japan's baby bust: causes, consequences, and policy responses

 

 

 

 

Japan was the first country in Asia where fertility fell to far-below-replacement levels. In 2006 the total fertility rate was 1.32 children per woman. The Japanese government has been trying to reverse the decline in fertility since 1990, so far with very little success. EWC researchers in collaboration with Japanese colleagues have been tracking Japan's fertility decline, attempting to ascertain its causes, measure the effects of these causes, and analyze why the government's efforts to raise fertility have not been more successful.

Comparative analysis of very low fertility in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan

A key research question to be addressed in this project, involving collaborators from each country, is how changes in economic conditions, social institutional environment, and attitudes about gender roles interact to affect marriage and childbearing behavior. The findings from this research will contribute to on-going discussions among policy makers in South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan about how to respond to the continuing trend toward very low fertility.

Emergence of very low fertility in China

China's total fertility rate has fallen very rapidly. It was about 1.6 children per woman in 2000 and may now be even lower. Researchers at the East-West Center have been working with colleagues at China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to assess fertility trends from 1975 to 2000, based on analyses of data from China's 1990 and 2000 censuses. Fertility levels vary among China's provinces, although this variation is diminishing. Current research focuses on measuring and explaining provincial-level variation in fertility. The research also aims at ascertaining how much of China's fertility decline is due to the government's one-child policy and how much to the fertility-reducing effects of China's rapid economic development and accompanying social changes.

Multivariate analysis of the total fertility rate and its components

This research develops new multivariate methods for analyzing: (1) effects of socioeconomic variables on the total fertility rate and its components; and (2) effects of socioeconomic variables on the trend in the total fertility rate and a number of other fertility measures. The methods are illustrated by application to data from the 1993, 1998, and 2003 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) in the Philippines. Applications to DHS surveys in other countries are planned. The research also focuses on further extensions of the methodology.

 

RELATED PUBLICATIONS

Choe, Minja Kim, and Lei Li. 2011. Estimating the effects of education on later marriage and less marriage in South Korea: An application of a mixture survival model with proportional piecewise constant hazard. Journal of Applied Statistical Science 18(4): 103–15.

Chen, Jiajian, Robert D. Retherford, Minja Kim Choe, and Li Xiru. 2010. Effects of population policy and economic reform on the trend in fertility in Guangdong Province, China, 1975–2005. Population Studies 64(1): 43–60. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00324720903361048.

Rindfuss, Ronald D., Minja Kim Choe, Maria Midea M. Kabamalan, Noriko O. Tsuya, and Larry L. Bumpass. 2010. Order amidst change: Work and family trajectories in Japan. Advances in Life Course Research 15:76–88. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.alcr.2010.02.001.

Westley, Sidney B. Minja K. Choe, and Robert D. Retherford. 2010. Very low fertility in Asia: Is there a problem? Can it be solved? AsiaPacific Issues 94. Honolulu: East-West Center.

Bumpass, Larry, Ronald R. Rindfuss, Minja Kim Choe, and Noriko O. Tsuya. 2009. The institutional context of low fertility. Asian Population Studies 5(3): 215–35. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080./17441730903351479.

Chen, Jiajian, Robert D. Retherford, Minja Kim Choe, Li Xiru, and Hu Ying. 2009. Province-level variation in the achievement of below-replacement fertility in China. Asian Population Studies 5(3): 309–28. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17441730903351651.

 

Choe, Minja Kim, and Robert D. Retherford. 2009. The contribution of education to South Korea’s fertility decline to "lowest-low level." Asian Population Studies 5(3): 267–88. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17441730903351503.<

Li, Xiru, Ying Hu, Jiajian Chen, Robert Retherford, and Minja Kim Choe. 2007. Fertility estimates for provinces of China, 1975-2000. Beijing: China Statistics Press; Honolulu: East-West Center.

Westley, Sidney B. and Minja Kim Choe. 2007. How does son preference affect populations in Asia? AsiaPacific Issues 84. Honolulu: East-West Center.

Choe, Minja Kim. 2006. Modernization, gender roles and marriage behavior in South Korea.

 

 

In Yun-Shik Chang and Steven Hugh Lee, eds. Transformations in twentieth century Korea. London: Routledge, pp. 291-309.

Choe, Minja Kim, and Kyung-Ae Park. 2006. Fertility decline in South Korea: Forty years of policy-behavior dialogue. Korea Journal of Population Studies29(2): 1-26.

Ogawa, Naohiro, and Robert D. Retherford. 2006. Demographics of the Japanese family: Entering uncharted territory.

In M. Rebick and A. Takenaka, eds. The changing Japanese family. London: Routledge.

Retherford, Robert D., and Naohiro Ogawa. 2006. Japan's baby bust: Causes, implications, and policy responses. In Fred Harris, ed. The baby bust: Who will do the work? Who will pay the taxes? Boulder, Colorado: Rowman and Littlefield.

Choe, Minja Kim. 2005. Attitudes on marriage and childbearing and fertility behavior in Korea [in Korean]. In Seung Kwon Kim, et al., eds. Changes in value orientation and family in Korea and policy implications. Seoul: Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, pp. 146-64.

 

 

Retherford, Robert D., Minja Kim Choe, Jiajian Chen, Li Xiru, and Cui Hongyan. 2005. How far has fertility in China really declined? Population and Development Review 31(1): 57–84.

 

 

Tsuya, Noriko O., Larry L. Bumpass, Minja Kim Choe, and Ronald R. Rindfuss. 2005. Is the gender division of work changing in Japan? Asian Population Studies 1(1): 47-67.

Bumpass, Larry L. and Minja Kim Choe. 2004. Attitudes toward marriage and family life.In Noriko O. Tsuya and Larry L. Bumpass, eds. Marriage, work, and family life in comparative perspective: Japan, South Korea, and the United States. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, pp. 19–38.

Retherford, Robert D., Naohiro Ogawa, Rikiya Matsukura, and Hajime Ihara. 2004. Trends in fertility by education in Japan, 1966–2000. Tokyo: Nihon University Population Resarch Institute; Honolulu: East-West Center; Tokyo: Statistics Bureau, Statistical Research and Training Institute, Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications.

 

 

Rindfuss, Ronald R., Minja Kim Choe, Larry L. Bumpass, and Noriko O. Tsuya. 2004. Social networks and family change in Japan. American Sociological Review 69:838-61.

 

 

Tsuya, Noriko O., and Minja Kim Choe. 2004. Investments in children's education, desired fertility, and women's employment. In Noriko O. Tsuya and Larry L. Bumpass, eds. Marriage, work, and family life in comparative perspective: Japan, South Korea, and the United States. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, pp. 76–94.

 

 

Choe, Minja Kim, and Seung Kwon Kim. 2003. Factors associated with low fertility in South Korea and policy implications [in Korean]. In Seung Kwon Kim, ed. Study on the development of population policies and programs in responses to low fertility.Seoul: Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, pp. 147–67.

 

 

Retherford, Robert D., and Sidney B. Westley. 2002. Fertility and family planning. In East-West Center. The future of population in Asia.Honolulu: East-West Center.

 

 

Retherford, Robert D., Naohiro Ogawa, and Rikiya Matsukura. 2001. Late marriage and less marriage in Japan. Population and Development Review 27:65–102.

Brewster, Karin L., and Ronald R. Rindfuss. 2000. Fertility and women's employment in industrialized nations. Annual Review of Sociology26: 271-96.

Retherford, Robert D., N. Ogawa, and S. Sakamoto. 1999. Values and fertility change in Japan. In R. Leete, ed. Dynamics of values in fertility change.Liege: International Union for the Scientific Study of Population.

Choe, Minja Kim. 1998. Changing marriage pattern in South Korea.

 

In Karen Oppenheim Mason, Noriko O. Tsuya, and Minja Kim Choe, eds. The changing family in comparative perspective: Asia and the U.S. Honolulu: East-West Center and Nihon University, pp. 43–62.

Mason, Karen Oppenheim, Noriko O. Tsuya, and Minja Kim Choe. 1998. Introduction. In Karen Oppenheim Mason, Noriko O. Tsuya, and Minja Kim Choe, eds. The changing family in comparative perspective: Asia and the United States. Honolulu: East-West Center and Nihon University, pp. 1–16.

 

 

Li, Lei, and Minja Kim Choe. 1997. A mixture model for duration data: Analysis of second births in China. Demography34(2).

 

 

Choe, Minja Kim, J. Wu, R. Zhang, and G. Fei. 1996. The pace of family building in modern China. In Alice Goldstein and Wang Feng, eds. China: The many facets of demographic change. Boulder: Westview Press, pp. 135–49.

 

 

Rindfuss, Ronald R., and Karin L. Brewster. 1996. Childrearing and fertility. In John B. Casterline, Ronald L. Lee, and Karen A. Foote, eds. Fertility in the United States: New patterns, new theories. Population and Development Review 22(Suppl.): 258-289.

Ogawa, Naohiro, and Robert D. Retherford. 1993. The resumption of fertility decline in Japan: 1973–92. Population and Development Review19(4), December.

 

RELATED EVENT

Summer Seminar on Population: Workshop on Fertility Analyses in the Context of Low Fertility, 4 - 18 June 2011, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. Contact: sumsem@eastwestcenter.org

 

 

RELATED STAFF

 

 

Robert D. Retherford
Minja Kim Choe
Jiajian Chen
Ronald R. Rindfuss

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