World Population

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Mid-Term Research Paper
Japan, Russia, North & South Korea
Sammy Holmes
30 November, 2012

Japan, Russia, North & South Korea
Comparing and contrasting many demographics of Japan, Russia, North Korea, and South Korea turned up many interesting details. Over the course of approximately one hundred years, these countries have all gone to war multiple times. I have discovered many statistics that parallel my initial instincts as to what I would find, and I have also found statistics that dispute what I, at first, believed I would uncover.

Looking into Japan’s demographics it is easy to see why its total fertility rate, life expectancy, total population, and other demographic identities have changed over the past century. Even with its TFR well below replenishment level, their population has continued to grow until recently when the growth rate has decreased and actually turned negative to -.077% (CIA 2012). It is noticeable the effects of WW1, WW2, and the Korean War have had on its population. During each of these wars the TFR dropped at the start of the war, slightly rose at the return of the men, and then continued to decline. As far back as 1800, the life expectancy of the Japanese has led the world (Rosling 2008). The only exception to this was at during WW2, when life expectancy dropped to 31 years (Rosling 2008). With a low birth rate of 8.39 and a low death rate of 9.15 (CIA 2012), it is easy to see they are not producing enough children to sustain their population. The population pyramid of Japan of 1990 compared to predictions in 1920 and 1950 show a gradual but distinct inversion of the age structure (Nation Master 2010). This will lead to a greater elderly population with a younger population possibly unable to provide the necessary care. Japan’s population ages sixty-five and older is predominately women, with only 76% of a man per woman. Thus leading to the conclusion, women will be taking care of other women, during old age. I do think this population shift, although fairly swift, will be slow enough to not cause an economic disaster. Especially, since the income per person in Japan has increased tremendously after 1965, and in 2010 had the average Japanese person earning 30,866 per year.

South Korea and North Korea have very similar characteristics and trends right up until 1995 when it is evident South Korea started dominating economically and in life expectancy. Their age structures of male to female are relatively similar only differing somewhat in ages 0-14. Their sex ratios are also closely linked almost equaling 50/50 throughout infancy until sixty-four years of age. Both populations ages sixty-five and older are compromised mainly of women (CIA 2012). Currently North Korea is growing at a higher percentage than South Korea; .535% and .204% respectively (CIA 2012). Their TFRs were almost mirror images until the start of WW1, when North Korea’s plunged to 1.8 by 1950 (Rosling 2008). South Korea’s TFR also plummeted, but not nearly as low only reaching 4 by 1950 (Rosling 2008). Judging by the population pyramids of both North and South Korea, there is an evident shift in the population trend with less children being born than in previous years. An inverse triangling effect seems to be occurring, where more women are living longer, and having fewer babies. Although similar to the occurrence in Japan, the increase of an elderly population in North and South Korea is nowhere close as dramatic.

South Korea, sponsored by the United States until 1960, was given greater opportunities to be successful. With a birth rate of 8.42 per 1,000 people, and a death rate of 6.38 per 1,000 (CIA 2012), and a very low infant mortality, their population is still growing, but very slowly. South Korea experienced a similar baby boom effect after the Korean War, but for the most part has had a steadily declining TFR. Unlike Japan, after WW2, the total population and life expectancy of South Korea did not...
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