Educational Attainments of Women and Lowest Low Fertility of Japan

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Arcade Courtyard (Main Building)
Toshihiko HARA, Sapporo City University, Japan
This study focuses on the second demographic transition of Japan and tries to investigate backgrounds of below replacement fertility as steady state. I analyzed changing composition of educational attainments of women since 1950 to 2014 and estimated average years at school after age 15, transformed from cohort to period. They indicate highly correspondence with increasing mean age at first marriage of women since 1974 to 2013. It suggests the prolonged years of school education cause timing shift of family formation through delayed debut to marriage market. The prefecture data in 2010 show negative correlation between percentage of pursuing higher education after high school and age specific first marriage rates of women (and age specific birth rates) at age 20-24, where most of women are still at higher education or short after graduation. In contrast, they indicate positive correlation at age 30-34 and elder, where they try to catch up delayed marriage and childbearing. Japanese society was adaptive and successful in 1960–1970’s. The demographic bonus brought the economic growth. At the same time individualization towards reproduction had spread throughout Japanese society. The responsibility for child/elderly care was shifted from family to woman as an individual. It changed women’s life course. Education and employment opportunities for women were expanded. They caused timing shift of marriage and childbearing. Japanese women became more adjustable. It was escalated to increase the number of women with only one child and the childless, even to emergence of below replacement fertility as steady state. The critical condition to recover the replacement fertility is to change the cost/benefit balance of childbearing for the women toward plus value. We need career design to harmonize having children with extending years of education.