The September 3rd issue of "International Herald Tribune," referred to a dwindling birth rate in Europe. According to the article, the fertility rate in countries like Czech Republic, Slovenia, Latvia and Poland is a very low one of 1.2, which is way below the rate of 2.1 necessary to keep current population. Greece, Italy and Spain are also suffering from low fertility rate of 1.3, the article says.
The only exception is France, with a rate of 1.8. The article says, "France has long encouraged larger families through incentives, from direct per-child payments to allocations for clothing and school supplies, and it recently offered women €750, or $960, a month for a year if they had a third child. Austrian women have been offered €450 a month for three years for a first birth."
As for Japan, its total fertility rate has been dwindling in the past 20 years like so many European countries. Ministry of Health and Welfare announced that the rate for 2005 declined to 1.25. It has a big impact on Japanese livelihood and economy. Because it means decreasing younger labor population and increasing social welfare spending. I would like to raise some reasons why Japanese women tend to give birth to less children.