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Birthrates tumble worldwide, clouding post-pandemic prospects

Maintaining growth and social safety nets face challenge if declines persist

Births in Hong Kong fell by more than half year-on-year in January.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Global data on births in December and January, nine months after many countries began feeling the impact of the coronavirus, paints a grim picture for population growth that clouds prospects for sustaining the international economy.

Births have fallen between 10% and 20% in such countries as Japan, France and Spain -- and even more in some areas -- exacerbating a widespread downward trend in fertility. This has sparked concern about whether these economies will be able to grow and maintain their social safety nets should the declines continue.

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