Who desire children in Japan? – changing in age and parity composition

Miho Iwasawa, National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, Tokyo
Fusami Mita, National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, Japan

Japan’s total fertility rate was 1.32 in 2006 and it is still low level among developed countries. However, the main cause of this low fertility is not an increase in the prevalence of women who do not intend to have any children but rather the postponement of childbearing. In this paper, we focus on the consequence of longtime trends in postponement of childbearing. We identified women who desired at least one (additional) child using responses to a question about fertility intentions in the Japanese National Fertility Surveys, and described changes in the size and composition of this group. It might be possible that infertility is increasing due to aging of women having a desire for childbearing. However, there has been little research on infertility at national level and little is known about size and trend in infertility women or couples in Japan. We used responses to a question about experience of visiting a clinic to seek help in having a child and anxiety about infertility in the JNFS, and estimated the number of married women with experience as one of proxies for infertility women. The number of reproductive age women desiring a child increased 17% between 1982 and 2005 - from 9.78 million to 11.47 million. Most of increase was attributed to never married women without children. Over the same period, this population aged with the proportion at least 35 years old increasing dramatically from 5% to 15%, and average age of this group rising form 25.1 to 27.6. We use data from the JNFS to estimate the number of women in Japan who are receiving examinations or medical care related to fertility. These estimates show that 1.2 % of married women of reproductive age were receiving examinations or medical care at the survey time in 2005.

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Presented in Poster Session 1