Tiger nations may be declawed by demographic trends

In light of their week economic growth, it is no surprise that Western policymakers have turned their examining eyes to Asia in search of the keys to economic success. In doing so, they would be wise to place the performance of Tiger nations in perspective and to pay due attention to demographic trends.

Forbes magazine columnist Joel Kotkin notes that many citizens in Asian nations manage their lives in terms of costs and benefits. While their economies are roaring, residents face high real estate prices and often forgo forming families and having children due to the cost of doing so.

“Few of the 40 or more Singaporean younger adults I have interviewed in recent months celebrated singleness like some of their Western counterparts. Most still wanted children and linked their reluctance to wed or to have babies on the high cost of living, intense competition in their workplace and even increasingly crowded mass transit,” Kotkin writes.

The result, he adds, “could prove a social disaster in the long run” because these nations “now suffer fertility rates roughly half the 2.1 children per household needed to replace the current population. By 2030 these countries could have fewer people under 15 than over 60.”

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