Japan's population falls for 13th straight year, pinned below 125 million

Japan
Photo: Kyodo

Japan's population fell by 595,000 from a year earlier to total 124,352,000 as of Oct. 1, marking the 13th consecutive year of decline, with household size also continuing to shrink, national data showed Friday, Kyodo reports. 

The population of Japanese nationals fell by 837,000 to 121,193,000, marking the largest drop since comparable data became available in 1950, according to a demographic survey by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, despite government efforts to grapple with the country's declining birthrate and rapidly aging society.

In an estimate released by a national population institute the same day, single-person households were forecast to account for 44.3 percent of the 52.61 million households in Japan in 2050, with nearly half of them made up of people aged 65 or older.

In 2020, the number of single households accounted for 38.0 percent of the total, according to the data by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.

The average number of people living in a household is projected to dwindle from 2.21 in 2020 to 1.99 in 2033 and 1.92 in 2050, according to the institute.

Among the elderly living alone in 2050, 59.7 percent of men and 30.2 percent of women are projected to be people who have never married, up from 33.7 percent and 11.9 percent, respectively, in 2020.

The projected trend suggests that the central and local governments need to enhance support for elderly people in areas such as nursing care.

At the same time, the ministry's data showed people aged 75 or above rose 713,000 to about 20.08 million, eclipsing the 20 million mark for the first time.

The number of people aged from zero to 14 fell 329,000 to about 14.17 million, accounting for 11.4 percent of the total population, the lowest ever. Those aged between 15 and 64 dropped 256,000 to about 73.95 million, 59.5 percent of the total population.

Meanwhile, the foreign national population rose 243,000 to about 3.16 million. Foreign workers and students who had been in Japan for more than 90 days were counted in the overall population figure, according to the ministry.

Among the country's 47 prefectures, only Tokyo saw a rise in population, the second straight year of increase for the Japanese capital.

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