Declining Fertility in Japan.   Japan's fertility rate is 1.22 children born per woman.  This news report puts this in context of Japanese culture. 

"Feminine foot-dragging on the way to the altar has been identified by demographers as perhaps the primary reason for the region's plunging birthrates....Most working women in Japan face a stark choice: the career track, in which they will acquire financial independence while remaining single and childless, or the family track, which makes them full-time mothers until they are in their mid- to late 40s.  ...  Still, marriage remains almost universal in Japan. Only 4 percent of women older than 45 have never married. It is also exceedingly rare for women here to have children outside marriage (less than 2 percent of all births). The cultural taboo against single parenthood is far stronger than in the United States, where about 37 percent of births are outside wedlock. Cohabitation is also rare in Japan, and single women almost never adopt."

posted August 28, 2008 at 9:00 a.m.