Congrats, Japan, You're No Longer World's Worst at Procreating

Germany is the world's new panda of birth rates
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2015 1:57 PM CDT
Congrats, Japan, You're No Longer World's Worst at Procreating
In this 2012 photo, Dr. Kazuhiro Kawamura of the St. Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki, Japan, holds a newborn baby.   (AP Photo/Kazuhiro Kawamura)

Japan, having long fretted over its sexless image, has managed to escape its worst-in-the-world-at-procreation status: The new lowest birth rate in town belongs to Germany, which saw about 8.3 births per 1,000 people in the five years ending in 2013, edging under Japan's 8.4, reports Bloomberg. Perhaps in an indicator of what's driving the lack of reproduction, this news triggered not a flurry of activity on, but rather economic worry. "This results in significantly negative consequences for Germany’s economic attractiveness and performance in the global competitive landscape," says the head of the Hamburg Institute, which released the study.

Of particular note: The ratio of working age Germans to retirees is set to shrink from 4:1 to 2:1 in 20 years. If Germany can't boost its birth rates, experts are advising it to recruit migrant workers to keep its labor force from falling off. Elsewhere on the planet's pecking order were Portugal (9.0), Italy (9.3), and France and the UK, both with 12.7, adds the BBC. The highest birth rate was in Niger, with 50 babies for every 1,000 people. (Meanwhile, the Danes got creative with a "Do It for Denmark" campaign last year.)

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