Media like to cite declining births in absolute numbers or birth rates (the number of children born per 1,000 population). The results inspire juicy headlines such as “Japan suffers lowest number of births on record” and “Alarm bells ring over falling birth rate.” However, drops in these figures do not necessarily mean that women are having fewer babies. If the pool of potential mothers is shrinking, the absolute number of children will also decrease compared to previous years. Japanese women of ages 35-39 outnumber those 30-34, 30-34 outnumbers 25-29, and so on. Add in the ever-increasing number of elderly living longer than almost anywhere else on the planet and birth rates drop as well.