Japan Data

Annual Births in Japan Fall Below 800,000 for the First Time

Family Society Health

The number of births in Japan fell further in 2022 to just below 800,000, according to a preliminary report, while there were almost twice as many deaths.

According to preliminary demographic statistics released by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, there were 799,728 births in Japan in 2022. This was a year-on-year decrease of 43,169, with the total falling below 800,000 for the first time since the statistics on births were first compiled in 1899. Apart from the falling number of women of childbearing age, there may have been a tendency during the ongoing pandemic for couples to put off marriage and starting a family.

The final figure for births in 2022, to be released in June, is set to be even lower. Unlike the preliminary estimate, which includes both foreign and Japanese citizens, it will be based solely on the number of Japanese births. The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research had estimated that annual births would fall below 800,000 by 2030, but this level has been reached eight years earlier than expected.

Japan’s Demographic

2022 2021
Births 799,728 842,897
Deaths 1,582,033 1,452,289
Natural population change -782,305 -609,392
Marriages 519,823 514,242
Divorces 183,103 187,854

(Created by Nippon.com based demographic statistics from the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. Statistics for both 2021 and 2022 are preliminary estimates.)

The number of deaths increased by 129,744 year on year, to 1,582,033, setting a record high. The natural population change, or difference between the number of births and deaths, was a decline of more than 600,000 for the first time in 2021, and this attrition accelerated further to 782,305 in 2022.

During the first baby boom (1947–49) immediately after the end of World War II, the number of annual births in Japan reached 2.5 million, and births per year exceeded 2 million during the second baby boom (1971–74). Since then, the number has consistently dropped, without a spike in births when the second baby-boom generation reached the age to have their own children. Since 2007, there has been a growing natural population decline.

The number of marriages remains low, although in 2022 there was the first year-on-year increase in three years, to 519,823. Due to Japan’s disapproving attitudes to out-of-wedlock births and premarital pregnancies, it seems unlikely that births will recover without an increase in the number of marriages.

Preliminary Report on Population and Vital Statistics

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

population aging demographics