Japan 2016 Birthrate Falls to 1.44; Newborns Fall below 1 Million (News)
Tokyo, June 2 (Jiji Press)—The total fertility rate in Japan in 2016 fell 0.01 point from the previous year to 1.44, while the number of babies born last year slipped below 1 million for the first time, the Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry said in an annual demographic survey on Friday.
The rate represents the average number of children a woman is expected to give birth in her lifetime, covering those aged 15–49.
The number of newborns in 2016 totaled 976,979, down by 28,698 from the preceding year, reflecting a drop in the number of women in childbearing age, according to the survey.
Meanwhile, the number of deaths came to a postwar high of 1,307,765, up by 17,321. Of the nation's 47 prefectures, only Okinawa saw the number of births top that of deaths. The most common cause of death was cancer, accounting for 29% of the total deaths, followed by heart diseases, for 15%, and pneumonia, for 9%.
Japan's natural population decrease thus came to 330,786 in 2016. Deaths outpaced births for the tenth straight year, with the size of net population decline continuing to expand during the period. In 2005, Japan posted its first net population decline since the end of World War II.[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]