The underlying issue of declining birth rates in Nordic Europe


  • Alfred Wong


economic prosperity, Finland, lifestyle, natality, population, Singapore


Nordic countries have experienced a century-long decline in birth rates, just like in most other countries in Western Europe. For many decades, demographers have been struggling to explain this phenomenon. For various national and cultural reasons, the nation state is interested in devising ways and means of rectifying this steady decline. There appears to be an inverse quantitative relationship between birth rate and economic prosperity as depicted by per capita gross national income. This empirical correlation was found to exist in case-study countries with significantly different cultural values, viz. Finland and Singapore. The long-term decrease in natality was discovered to be strongly related to steadily rising economic prosperity in advanced economies. Reversing the gain in per capita gross national income could not be considered realistically within the pervasive neoliberal economic framework. In view of this finding, there may be no practicable solution to the problem of declining birth rates in advanced economies, notwithstanding any cultural-value differences. It could be speculated that emerging economies would experience declining natality as they become advanced economies.