What decreased birthrates means for the toy industry

Published on: 12th June 2023

In looking at global birthrates, Richard Gottlieb finds that only one developed country in the world has more births than deaths.

Richard Gottlieb is the founder and CEO of Global Toy Experts, a consultancy to US and international toy companies. He is also the publisher of Global Toy News, a web-based magazine founded in 2009 that covers toy industry news and provides resources to the toy industry. Richard co-hosts The Playground Podcast and publishes The Toy Intelligencer report. Here, he shares one of his latest columns with Toy World readers:

If you have been reading me for a while, you know I am concerned about the dramatically decreased birthrates in developed countries and what this means for a toy industry largely dependent upon children.

A country needs a fertility rate of 2.1 to maintain its population; the US, for example, has a fertility rate of 1.64. The only reason the US has population growth is due to immigration.

Other countries wish they had a fertility rate of 1.64. Japan’s birth rate is 1.34, China’s 1.15, Taiwan’s 0.96, and South Korea’s is cratering at 0.81. According to the website Next Big Future, “Countries with very low fertility rates of 1.1 or less will have populations at one third of their current levels in 2100. Countries with very low fertility rates of 1.6 to 1.8 will have populations at 60-70% of current levels in 2100.”

According to Next Big Future, if China, South Korea and Japan were to maintain a fertility rate of 1.0 for the next 270 years, their population would drop to 2% of its current level in 2300. That means Japan, whose current population is 126m, would have roughly two and a half million in 2030. China’s population would drop to 282m.

Read Richard’s full article on Global Toy News here.


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