September 22, 2006

Low Asian birthrates

A reader who lived in three East Asian countries for a decade writes from China:

As with the rest of the world, young people are deserting the farms to go live in the cities. The young men who remain on the family farm cannot find wife in their home country (Japan, Korea, Taiwan). So, they go for mail order brides from China, Vietnam, and Thailand. However, China is no good anymore because China also has bride shortage as well. This leaves Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines. Indonesia is out because it is Muslim.

However, the birth rate is rapidly declining even in Thailand and Vietnam as well as the rest of South East Asia.

The 800 lbs explanation that Mark Steyn overlooks for the decline of Asian birthrates is because it is now expensive to raise kids in Asia (except in the poor parts of S.E. Asia). This is partly due to urbanization, but also to the great expectations required to properly raise kids in Asia, mainly high education. Schools (primary, secondary, and university) are even more expensive, relative to mean income, than they are in the U.S. Housing is also more expensive (relative to income) than in the U.S.

(Medical care is cheaper. That's because it is less regulated and bureaucratized than in the U.S.)

Housing in Asia does not mean single family detached housing in leafy suburbs, as it does in the U.S. Rather, it refers to the luxury 3 bedroom condominium in the fashionable high-rise. Compared to U.S. suburbs, urban high-rise living is not conducive to having kids.

The reason why even the poor people in Asia are no longer having kids is because, in Asia, it is great shame to have kids and not provide decent upbringing to them. To have kids without being financially prepared for them marks one as being "low class" and is a source of shame.

Lastly, fewer people are having kids because, in the high-rise urban environment, there is lots of fun to be had by traveling and partying a lot.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

No comments: