Older women nudged fertility rate up in 2007

Kyodo News

Japan’s fertility rate edged up 0.02 point to 1.34 in 2007 because women later in life are having children, but there were still fewer births overall, the health ministry said Wednesday.

The uptick in the fertility rate stemmed partly from an increase in births among women in their late 30s, tracing a similar trend that played a role in the previous year’s rise, data from the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry showed.

But the number of Japanese babies born in the country in 2007 dropped by 2,929 year on year to 1,089,745.

Meanwhile, the nation’s death toll came to 1,108,280 in 2007, rising by 23,830. Of the total, 30,777 people committed suicide, a statistic that has averaged over 30,000 since 1998.

According to the latest data, fertility rates for women in their teens and 20s fell in 2007 while those for women in their 30s and older increased. The 0.0139-point rise seen among women between 35 and 39 was the biggest contribution overall to the 0.02 point climb in 2007.

By prefecture, Okinawa marked the highest fertility rate, with 1.75, followed by Miyazaki at 1.59, and Kumamoto and Kagoshima at 1.54. Tokyo had the lowest fertility rate, at 1.05.

The average age of women giving birth to their first children rose 0.2 to 29.4, the data showed.