East-West Center analysis of policy responses to low fertility
View this email in your browser

New Publication

Low and Lower Fertility: Variations across Developed Countries
by Ronald Rindfuss and Minja Kim Choe

(Cham, Switzerland; New York: Springer, 2015)
vii, 188 pp.

This volume examines two distinct low fertility scenarios that have emerged in economically advanced countries since the turn of the 20th century: one in which fertility is at or near replacement-level and the other where fertility is well below replacement. It explores the way various institutions, histories and cultures influence fertility in a diverse range of countries in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia. The book features invited papers from the Conference on Low Fertility, Population Aging and Population Policy, held December 2013 and co-sponsored by the East-West Center and the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA). It first presents an overview of the demographic and policy implications of the two low fertility scenarios. Next, the book explores five countries currently experiencing low fertility rates: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. It then examines three countries that have close to replacement-level fertility: Australia, the Netherlands and the United States. Each country is featured in a separate chapter written by a demographer with expert knowledge in the area. Very low fertility is linked to a number of conditions countries face, including a declining population size. At the same time, low fertility and its effect on the age structure, threatens social welfare policies. This book goes beyond the technical to examine the core institutional, policy and cultural factors behind this increasingly important issue. It helps readers to make cross-country comparisons and gain insight into how diverse institutions, policies and culture shape fertility levels and patterns.


See related publications below


Policy Briefs - United Nations Expert Group Meeting on Policy Responses to Low Fertility

(New York: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division; Honolulu: East-West Center, 2015)
2 pp.

Falling fertility and rising life expectancy are changing the age structure of populations all over the world.  Many economically advanced countries with persistent levels of low fertility are experiencing declining proportions of children and working-age adults and growing populations of older persons, drastically changing population age structures and leading eventually to population decline. In the history of the world, this is a new phenomenon with profound, and little understood, implications for a broad range of policies and programs. Affected areas include labor markets, education and training, social security, healthcare systems, and housing markets, among others.

A three-year East-West Center project on falling fertility levels included a United Nations Expert Group Meeting on Policy Responses to Low Fertility, held on 2-3 November 2015 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.  The purpose of the expert group meeting was to broaden the discussion by involving a larger group of policymakers, academics, and representatives of selected UN agencies and international organizations. The meeting distilled lessons learned and provided policy guidance for countries that are experiencing low fertility and population aging, and for those that are likely to face these challenges in the not too distant future. More information on the expert group meeting is available at

In conjunction with this expert meeting, the East-West Center and the United Nations Population Division published a series of policy briefs on low fertility and related institutions and policies in 18 countries around the world.

Policy Brief No. 1 - Cross-Cutting Issues and Policies in Countries Experiencing Low Fertility

Policy Brief No. 2 - Fertility in Australia Has Remained Steady Despite Policy Swings

Policy Brief No. 3 - Fertility, Family Change and Policy Adjustments in Austria

Policy Brief No. 4 - Regional Variations in Fertility Trends and Policies in Canada

Policy Brief No. 5 - Below-Replacement Fertility in China: Policy Response Is Long Overdue

Policy Brief No. 6 - Fertility, Family Change and Policy Adjustments in the Czech Republic

Policy Brief No. 7 - The Influence of Family Policies on Fertility in France

Policy Brief No. 8 - Can Hong Kong Escape the "Low-Fertility Trap"?

Policy Brief No. 9 - Persistence of Low Fertility in a Changing Policy Environment in Hungary

Policy Brief No. 10 - Low Fertility, Social Rigidity and Government Policies in Italy

Policy Brief No. 11 - Government Response to Low Fertility in Japan

Policy Brief No. 12 - How Has the Netherlands Managed to Sustain Near-Replacement Fertility?

Policy Brief No. 13 - Not So Low Fertility in Norway -- A Result of Affluence, Liberal Values, Gender-Equality Ideals and the Welfare State

Policy Brief No. 14 - Can the Republic of Korea Afford
Continuing Very Low Fertility?

Policy Brief No. 15 - Do Pro-Fertility Policies in Singapore Offer a Mode for Other Low-Fertility Countries in Asia?

Policy Brief No. 16 - The Policy Context of Persistent Very Low Fertility in Spain

Policy Brief No. 17 - Can Pro-Natalist Policies Reverse the Fertility Decline in Taiwan Province of China?

Policy Brief No. 18 - Institutional and Policy Context for Fertility Trends in the United Kingdom

Policy Brief No. 19 - What Accounts for Near Replacement-Level Fertility in the United States?

Recent Publications

Follow EWC




Search the East-West Center Publications website for other publications by the East-West Center and its staff. If you have any questions, comments, or need further information, contact the East-West Center Publication Sales Office at

Related Publications

Policy Concerns of Low Fertility for Military Planning in South Korea
by Elizabeth Hervey Stephen
AsiaPacific Issues, no. 102 (Honolulu: East-West Center, November 2011)

Very Low Fertility in Asia: Is There a Problem? Can It Be Solved?
by Sidney B. Westley, Minja Kim Choe, and Robert D. Retherford
AsiaPacific Issues, no. 942 (Honolulu: East-West Center, May 2010)
Copyright © 2016 East-West Center, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list