Japan Data

Japan’s Population Drops in Every Prefecture Except Okinawa

Economy Society Family Health

In Akita Prefecture, 9.5% of the population of 945,000 is under the age of 15, while 19.9% is 75 or older. This is an extreme example, but 45 of Japan’s 47 prefectures have more residents aged 75 or older than those under 15.

According to an estimate released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the total population of Japan as of October 1, 2021, was 125,502,000, a year-on-year decrease of 644,000 or 0.51%. This is the largest decline since 1950, when statistics to make comparisons were first available.

In the map below, the rate of population increase or decrease by prefecture is indicated by the color shade. The only prefecture with an increase (shown in red) is Okinawa Prefecture, where the population increase of 0.07% was smaller than the 0.41% increase in the previous year. The remaining 46 prefectures saw a population decrease (in blue). The darker the blue color, the larger the decrease. A significant population decline can be seen in the Tōhoku region and on the Sea of Japan side of the country. In these areas, 11 prefectures saw a population decline of over 1.0%, including Akita (1.52%), Aomori (1.35%), Yamagata (1.23%), and Nagasaki (1.18%). In addition, five prefectures saw their population change from an increase to a decrease, while 33 prefectures saw a greater rate of decrease compared to the previous year.

By prefecture, Tokyo had the largest population, at 14.0 million, constituting 11.2% of the overall population, followed by Kanagawa at 9.2 million (7.4% of the overall population), Osaka at 8.8 million (7.0%), and Aichi at 7.5 million (6.0%). The three major urban areas in Japan are the Tokyo metropolitan area (36.9 million), Nagoya metropolitan area (11.2 million), and Osaka metropolitan area (18.1 million). In total, 52.8% of Japan’s entire population lives in these three urban areas.

Meanwhile, Tottori Prefecture had the smallest population, at 549,000, accounting for 0.4% of the overall population, followed by Shimane Prefecture at 665,000 (0.5%) and Kōchi at 684,000 (0.5%).

By age group, 11.8% of the national population was under 15, while 59.4% was aged 15 to 64, and 28.9% was 65 or older. By prefecture, Okinawa had the highest percentage of residents under 15, at 16.5%, followed by Shiga at 13.4%. Meanwhile, Akita had the lowest proportion under 15, at 9.5%, followed by Aomori at 10.4%.

The percentage of the population under 15 was in a downward trend overall, declining in all prefectures compared to the previous year. In addition, the percentage of the population aged 75 or older exceeded the percentage under 15 in all prefectures except Okinawa and Shiga.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

population aging