Japan Data

New Record Low for Japan’s Elementary and Junior High School Students

Society Education

A decreasing childhood population is leading local governments around Japan to close elementary and junior high schools.

More than 200 schools closed across Japan in the past year due to its shrinking population of children. A survey conducted by Japan’s ministry of education found that in fiscal 2019 there was a year-on-year decrease of 154 elementary schools and 48 junior high schools, which now total 19,738 and 10,222, respectively. There was a drop of 59,322 elementary school students to 6,368,545; while the number of junior high school students fell by 33,555 to 3,218,115.

High-school students in Japan, meanwhile, number 3,168,262, or 67,399 fewer than in the previous year.

The number of students at Japan’s compulsory elementary and junior high schools is the lowest since data was first kept in 1948. The total for elementary school students is 53% lower than the peak year of 1958, when students numbered 13.5 million. Meanwhile, there are 56% fewer junior high school students than in 1962, when there was a record high of 7.3 million. The figures highlight just how serious the fall in Japan’s birthrate has been.

In April 2019, 1,028,678 children entered elementary school, while 1,078,676 entered junior high school.

The study found that 98% of 1,112,070 junior high school graduates entered high school in fiscal 2019. Among 1,051,246 high school graduates, 54.7% entered university that same year, while 16.4% joined vocational school and 17.7% entered the workforce.

Among the high school graduates that began working right after graduation, 41.2%, were hired by the manufacturing sector, followed by the wholesale/retail sector at 10.4% and construction at 8.0%.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Yumic/Pixta.)

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