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Aging Populations: A Comparison between Japan and Germany

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When comparing population trends of Japan and Germany, numerous similarities stand out. Both countries have an identical total fertility rate (TFR) per woman of 1.4 with a population growth rate of -0.2 percent (Table 1). While both countries have high life expectancies, Japan’s eighty-five-year life expectancy is among the world’s longest, leading to a higher elderly dependency ratio in 2017 (Table 1). Similarities between the countries related to below-replacement-rate population growth, aging-related pension and health care challenges, and pronatal policies place the countries on a similar population trajectory. When analyzing historical, economic, and social/cultural factors behind demographic similarities, different paths toward population decline emerge. Additionally, the countries vary in their views of international migration as a population stimulus. The analysis provides classroom activities that directly align with the College Board AP Human Geography course description. The comparison and suggested classroom activities could also augment any course addressing current demographic issues at the high school or undergraduate levels.

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