Japan Data

Number of Births in Japan Reaches New Low in 2023

Society Politics Family

In 2023, Japan had more than twice as many deaths as births, leading to a natural population decline (excluding migration) of over 800,000.

Preliminary demographic statistics released by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare show that in 2023 there were 758,631 births in Japan, 41,097 fewer than in the previous year. In 2022, the number of births dipped below 800,000 for the first time since records were first kept in 1899, and now the number has sunk further to a new low. On top of the decline in the number of women in their childbearing years, the number of marriages also slumped during the pandemic.

The preliminary statistics include figures for foreigners living in Japan and Japanese nationals living abroad, whereas the final statistics (to be announced in June) will be based on the number of Japanese nationals living in Japan, which will no doubt be lower.

Japan’s Demographics

2023 2022
Births 758,631 799,728
Deaths 1,590,503 1,582,033
Natural population change -831,872 -782,305
Marriages 489,281 519,823
Divorces 187,798 183,103

Created by Nippon.com based on demographic statistics from the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. Statistics for both 2022 and 2023 are preliminary estimates.

In 2023, the number of annual deaths reached a record-high 1,590,503, for a year-on-year increase of 8,470. The natural decrease in population, which is the difference between the number of births and deaths, surpassed 600,000 for the first time in 2021, but the population decline has only accelerated since then, reaching 782,305 in 2022 and then 831,872 in 2023.

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 declined, without a spike in births when the second baby-boom generation reached the age to have their own children. The number of births dropped below the number of deaths for the first time in 2007.

The number of marriages totaled 489,281 in 2023, falling below 500,000 for the first time. Given Japan’s disapproving attitude toward premarital or extramarital pregnancies, the number of births is unlikely to rebound as long as the number of marriages remains low.

Births, Deaths, and Marriages by Year

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

population demographics