Addressing Declining Birth Rates in Asia: Importance and Commonalities

Posted On: February 2, 2024

Commonality among the countries:

  • In recent news on the same day, all three countries (China, Malaysia, and Taiwan) are experiencing a decline in birth rates.
  • Economic concerns, such as the high cost of housing and the ability to provide for a family, are influencing people’s decisions to have children.
  • Gender expectations and traditional roles for women, including being primary caregivers, are contributing to the declining birth rates.

Some of the Stats Reported

  • China’s birth rate in 2023 was 6.39%, the lowest on record since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
  • Deaths outnumbered births by two million in 2023, with only nine million babies born in a country of 1.4 billion people.
  • China’s total fertility rate is estimated to be about 1.0, well below the 2.1 required to maintain a stable population.
  • China’s population declined in 2022 for the first time since the 1960s, and this decline continued in subsequent years.
  • Malaysia reached its lowest fertility rate in 50 years in 2022, with 1.6 children per woman aged 15 to 49.
  • Malaysia is on course towards becoming an ageing nation by 2030.
  • Taiwan’s total fertility rate in 2022 was 0.87 children per woman, among the world’s lowest.
  • Taiwan’s birth rate is set to become the world’s lowest by 2035.
  • The average age of a first marriage for women in Taiwan was 30.7 in 2022, up from 26.8 in 2002.
  • Economic concerns, such as the high cost of housing, are a significant factor influencing people’s decisions to have children in Taiwan.
  • Gender expectations and traditional roles for women, including being primary caregivers, also contribute to the declining birth rate.

My Comments as a Relationship Counselor and Clinical Sexologist:

  • China 🇨🇳: China’s birth rate has been steadily declining, reaching a record low in 2023. The low birth rate can be attributed to various factors, including economic concerns and the government’s previous one-child policy. As a relationship counselor and clinical sexologist, it is important to address the financial pressures couples may face when considering starting a family. 💰 Additionally, discussing the impact of cultural and societal expectations on gender roles and family dynamics can help couples navigate these challenges. 👫
  • Malaysia 🇲🇾: Malaysia is also facing a decline in birth rates, reaching its lowest fertility rate in 50 years. The government has implemented policies and incentives to encourage people to get married and have babies. As a relationship counselor and clinical sexologist, it is crucial to address the importance of informed decision-making when it comes to starting a family. 💑 Couples should consider their readiness for parenthood, both financially and emotionally. Providing support and guidance on family planning options can also be beneficial. 📚
  • Taiwan 🇹🇼: Taiwan’s declining birth rate is linked to a declining marriage rate and economic concerns, such as the high cost of housing. As a relationship counselor and clinical sexologist, it is important to address the societal pressures and gender expectations that may influence individuals’ decisions regarding marriage and parenthood. Encouraging open communication between partners about their desires, goals, and concerns can help navigate these challenges. Additionally, providing resources on financial planning and alternative family arrangements can support individuals who wish to have children outside of traditional marriage structures. 💬💡

Addressing declining birth rates is important for several reasons:

  1. Economic implications: A declining birth rate can lead to an aging population, which can strain social security systems and healthcare services. With fewer working-age individuals, there may be a decrease in the labor force, resulting in a potential shortage of skilled workers and reduced economic productivity. Addressing declining birth rates can help ensure a sustainable workforce and economic growth. 💼💪
  2. Social implications: A low birth rate can impact the social fabric of a society. It can lead to a smaller pool of young people, affecting social dynamics, community support systems, and intergenerational relationships. It can also result in a smaller talent pool for various sectors, including healthcare, education, and innovation. 🌱🤝
  3. Demographic imbalances: A significant decline in birth rates can lead to imbalances in the population structure. An aging population with a smaller younger generation can create challenges in terms of healthcare costs, pension systems, and caregiving needs. It can also lead to a decline in innovation and entrepreneurial activity.
  4. Cultural preservation: Declining birth rates can also have an impact on cultural preservation. Each country has its own unique cultural heritage, and a decline in birth rates can result in a decrease in the number of individuals who can carry on these traditions and practices. Addressing declining birth rates can help ensure the preservation and continuity of cultural identities. 🌍🎭
  5. Individual well-being: For individuals who desire to have children, the declining birth rates can create challenges and feelings of unfulfillment. Parenthood is often seen as a significant life milestone and a source of joy and fulfillment for many people. When individuals are unable to have children due to various reasons, such as financial constraints or societal pressures, it can affect their sense of purpose and happiness. Addressing declining birth rates is important to support individuals in their reproductive choices and ensure their well-being. 😊💑
  6. Personal fulfillment: Addressing declining birth rates is also important for individuals who desire to have children. It is essential to support individuals and couples in their reproductive choices and provide resources and assistance to help them achieve their desired family size. This can contribute to personal fulfillment and happiness. 🌱👨👩👧👦

Addressing declining birth rates is crucial for the economic, social, and cultural well-being of a country. It requires a comprehensive approach that considers factors such as economic stability, gender roles, societal expectations, and individual desires. By providing support, education, and resources, relationship counselors and clinical sexologists can play a vital role in helping individuals and couples navigate these challenges and make informed decisions about starting a family. 🌍👨👩👧👦💼📚💑💡

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  1. “Baby boom expected in China during Dragon Year not enough to save fertility crisis.” (2024, January 28). The Straits Times. Retrieved from
  2. “Taiwan’s plunging birth rate not just about money but also gender expectations.” (2024, January 28). The Straits Times. Retrieved from
  3. “Birthrate blues in an ageing nation.” (2024, January 28). The Star Online. Retrieved from

About Dr. Martha Tara Lee

Dr. Martha Tara Lee has been a passionate advocate for positive sexuality since 2007. With a Doctorate in Human Sexuality and a Masters in Counseling, she launched our sister company Underneath The Moon in 2009 to help individuals and couples lead self-actualised and pleasurable lives. Her expertise includes working with couples who have unconsummated marriage, individuals with sexual inhibitions and discrepancies in sexual desire, men with erection and ejaculation concerns, and members of the LGBTQIA+ and kink communities. Dr. Lee welcomes all sexual orientations and is available for online and face-to-face consultations. Martha speaks English and Mandarin.

She is the only certified sexuality educator by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in the region (as of 2011) and is also an AASECT certified sexuality educator supervisor (as of 2018). She strives to provide fun, educational, and sex-positive events and is often cited in the media including Huffington PostNewsweek, South China Morning Post, and more. She is the appointed Resident Sexologist for Singapore Cancer Society, Of, and Virtus Fertility Centre. She is the host of radio show Eros Evolution for OMTimes Radio. In recognition of her work, she was named one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women under 40’ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She is the author of Love, Sex and Everything In-Between (2013),  Orgasmic Yoga: Masturbation, Meditation and Everything In-Between (2015), From Princess to Queen: Heartbreaks, Heartgasms and Everything In-Between (2017), and {Un}Inhihibited (2019).

You can read the testimonials she’s received over years here. For her full profile, click here. Email her here.

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