Japan has had a population crisis for a few years. Japan’s fertility rate was 1.4 in 2014. To have enough children to keep the population stable, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) needs to be 2.1. As a country industrializes and becomes more prosperous, the TFR drops as higher IQ follows better nutrition. As a nation industrializes and becomes more complex, the attention of the populace shifts from one of having children and a family to one of success and intellectualism. As this occurs, the birth rate drops because the more intelligent a population is, the more likely it is for them to pursue higher education or monetary achievement. Clearly, the main reason Japan has concerns with their TFR is due to their high intelligence.
The Japan Times reported yesterday that almost half of single young men and women were virgins. A survey of Japanese men and women aged 18-34 found that 70 percent of unmarried men and 60 percent of unmarried women were not in a relationship. Also discovered, 42 percent of the men and 42.4 percent of the women admitted to being virgins. The survey was taken before in 2010, with 36.2 percent of men and 38.7 percent of women admitting to being virgins.
These surveys have been carried out every 5 years since 1987. Then, the rate of men who said they had no partner was 48.6 percent and for women it was 39.5 percent. The survey, which was conducted last June and accounted for 8,754 single people and 6,598 married couples across Japan, also found that 90 percent of the respondents wanted to get married “sometime in the future”, but for some people, this turns out to be a mistake. Moreover, 30 percent of the 2,760 men and 26 percent of the 2,570 women polled said they were not currently looking for a relationship. The increase in singles was most noted in the 20s, when women are the most fertile. The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe also said he wants to increase the birthrate from 1.4 to 1.8 by 2025.
Lastly, the study found that the number of children for couples marries for 15 to 19 years was 1.94, a record low. This study did not ask questions about same-sex partners, but what we are concerned about is the TFR and how it’s driven by evolution, so this is a non-factor.
Japan’s population is dramatically shrinking. In 2010, they had a population of 128 million but by their 2015 census, they had a population of 127 million. This is due to the increase in virgins and an aging population. Why is this happening?
This is, of course, driven by r/K Selection Theory. Rushton thought of r/K Selection Theory, also known as Differential K theory, in 1985 with a paper titled Differential K Theory: The Sociobiology of Individual and Group Differences. Organisms can be r-selected, K-selected or somewhere in between. Humans as a species are K-selected, but some human races and ethnies are more K-selected than others.
Africans are r-selected, meaning that they have many children while not investing too much time in their offspring. They evolved to be r-selected to offset the high mortality rate due to the harshness of Sub-Saharan Africa. Due to this, black girls have an earlier menarche (period) so they can reproduce more to a) offset the high mortality rate and b) have a chance to reproduce more due to the high mortality rate. This is driven by disease, malnutrition, and parasitic load, which also drop IQ and contribute to the high birth rate since lower IQ populations have more children.
Caucasians are in the middle of r and K, and have fewer children and put more energy into caring for each one. This goes back to evolving in the Ice Age where cooperation and altruism were needed. More attention to children was needed for Eurasians evolving back then due to the harsh conditions of the Ice Age. So, a higher IQ evolved, and along with the higher IQ came a bigger brain. The bigger brains of Eurasians led to children being born earlier, and a bigger brain allowed for better care for the children along with numerous other positive variables to help survive in the harsh weather. Moreover, genes from Neanderthals are responsible for a 1 percent decrease in historic fitness (biological fitness) in Eurasian populations.
Orientals (Japanese, Chinese, Koreans) are further K than Caucasians are. This is reflected in brain size, where more K-selected populations have bigger brains, thus they can think further into the future and maximize care for their children. The opposite holds true for blacks. This is reflected in modern-day, first-world life where blacks have too many children to care for on their own accord and whites and Orientals have fewer children and put more investment into their children .
It’s not only Japan that’s having this problem with birthrates. It’s all of the West and East Asia. Higher IQ societies do have a longer life expectancy, while lower IQ societies have a lower one. Then, as described above, the lower IQ populations have more children to offset the mortality rate.
Japan’s birthrate concerns are due largely in part to genetic factors. This is currently occurring in all high IQ populations. Those populations have a large elderly population, with the young demographic quickly shrinking. Seeing this gradient throughout the world with IQ and fertility rates, we can make some general conclusions:
- Low IQ populations have more children while high IQ populations have less children.
- High IQ populations are more likely to have a large subset of virgins, as seen with this article. Lower IQ populations lose their virginity earlier.
This can be seen with the CLASH (CLimate, Aggression and Self-control in Humans) model (Van Lange, Rinderu, and Bushmen 2016). According the the CIA World Fact book 2014, in countries closer to the equator, the average age of first birth for a female was 20 years of age (the countries were the Gaza strip, Liberia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Mali, Tanzania, Uganda and various other middle African countries). Conversely, for countries further away from the equator, the average age of first birth was 28 years of age (Japan, Canada, and most European countries). Those populations that evolved in warmer climates where the changes in season are minimal with unpredictable harshness tend to enact faster life history strategies than those in colder climates.
Moreover, a slower life history strategy (K-selection), under a predictable environment would be better to enhance inclusive fitness. There is a growing body of evidence that predictable environments promote K-selection “in terms of lower mortality, morbidity, delayed reproduction, and a higher contribution towards one’s social capital.” This can be seen with the trends in Western and East Asian countries.
The trend that Japan is facing can be reversed with incentives for reproduction. However, the more intelligent a society is, the fewer children it will have due to evolutionary pressures. Is there a happy medium between IQ and fertility rates, where the population isn’t too dumb and the fertility rates aren’t too low? I’ll explore that in the future.