Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The future will have fewer children.

Why it matters: Across the advanced economies, the population of children is declining. With a shrinking pool of youth entering the work force, many fear that industrial economies like Japan's could teeter, with acute worker shortages and less tax income for social payments to the bulging elderly population.

The big picture: Nowhere are children scarcer than in Japan and South Korea, which have spent billions to raise their birth rates but have failed so far to halt the trend. But the demography is almost everywhere.

  • "Shrinking fertility is a trend in most modern societies — in most of Europe and quite a bit of Asia. Japan’s just the leader," Mei Fong, author of "One Child," a book on China's one-child policy, tells Axios.
  • The number of children on Earth younger than 15 will peak at 2.09 billion in 2057 and begin a decline, falling just under 2 billion by 2100, writes demographer Max Roser.
  • The U.S. has record low fertility, Axios' Bob Herman reported earlier, falling to 3.94 million babies in 2016, about 37,000 fewer than 2015.

Be smart: The demographics are a hard inducement for aging advanced economies to embrace advances in robotics that can take the place of humans across industries.

  • Japan's population of children has declined for 37 straight years, report CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki and James Griffiths. As of April 1, "children made up just 12.3% of [Japan's population], compared to 18.9% for the US, 16.8% for China, and 30.8% for India," CNN said.
  • In South Korea, some experts call it a "birth strike," reports CBC's Kim Brunhuber.
  • "Young people either don't marry, marry late, or don't have children," says Gi-Wook Shin, a professor at Stanford University, speaking with Axios. "The big question is what to do."

Countries have tried different solutions:

  • Over the last decade, South Korea has spent about $70 billion in inducements such as free child care to encourage couples to have children, but to no avail. "Some say it's time to embrace migration like the U.S. and Canada. But many Koreans and Japanese are hesitant to embrace immigrants," Shin said.
  • Scandinavian countries have tamped down the trend by "throwing a lot into social support networks and, as important, shoring up gender equity," says Fong. "Straightforward baby bonuses like what Japan’s offering don’t seem to work without gender equity."

That is one explanation for the boom in robots in Asia.

"If you can’t grow it or import it, the next step appears to be to make it, with robotics used not just in manufacturing but to meet the most pressing need — eldercare support."
— Mei Fong

Go deeper: Read about "Peak Human," the possibility that the total global population could decline this century.

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”