Japan Data

Japanese Population Decline Accelerates as Annual Births Fall Further Below 1 Million


Demographic statistics for 2017 show that the number of births in Japan was below 1 million for the second successive year, dropping to a new low.

The number of annual births in Japan fell again in 2017 to 946,060, after dropping below 1 million for the first time the previous year. Provisional demographic statistics published by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare also indicate that the total fertility rate—the average number of children born to each woman during her lifetime—decreased from 1.44 in 2016 to 1.43 in 2017.

Japan’s Demographics

2017 estimate 2016
Births 946,060 976,978
Total fertility rate 1.43 1.44
Deaths 1,340,433 1,307,748
Overall population increase/decrease -394,373 -330,770
Marriages 606,863 620,531
Divorces 212,262 216,798

As Japan continues to gray, there was a new postwar record for annual deaths at 1,340,433. The population decrease of 394,374 was the highest ever natural drop.

In Japan’s first baby boom (1947–49) there were more than 2.5 million births each year, while the second baby boom (1971–74) saw over 2 million annual births. Since then, however, the number has fallen continuously, slipping below the number of deaths for the first time in 2007. As the children of the second baby boom are now in their late forties and past typical childbearing age, the number of births is expected to continue to drop.

The number of marriages fell by more than 13,000 to 606,863. This corresponds to 4.9 unions per 1,000 people, a new record low in the postwar era.

(Originally published in Japanese on June 14, 2018. Banner photo: © Pixta.)

demographics population aging