Governmental Support for Families and Obstacles to Fertility in East Asia and Other Industrialized Regions

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter examines low fertility and government responses in East Asia and other industrialized regions. It does so from two angles: first by examining individuals’ perceived obstacles to fertility on the basis of survey data, and second by examining governmental support for families via a series of indicators. Through this two-pronged approach, the aim is to identify possible mismatches between the demand for family support on the one hand and the supply on the other. In other words, we are interested in the divergence between what people perceive as being needed and what governments actually do for families. The data for the first part of the chapter reveal the dominance of the cost of children as a key obstacle to fertility. In contrast, the analysis of governmental support reveals the relatively low level of financial support for families in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan as compared with levels in some European countries. Results also reveal that although all three East Asian governments have placed an increasing priority on work-family reconciliation measures in recent decades, large obstacles to the combination of work and family, especially for women, nonetheless persist. The implications of these findings for fertility are discussed in the last part of the chapter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLow fertility, institutions, and their policies
Subtitle of host publicationVariations Across Industrialized Countries
EditorsRonald R. Rindfuss, Minja Kim Choe
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-32997-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-32995-6
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • family policy
  • cost of children
  • low fertility


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