Japan’s population declines in 2015 for first time since 1920
The Japan Times Kyodo Oct 27, 2016
Japan remains the 10th most populous nation. However, among the top 20 countries, it was the only one whose population declined between 2010 and 2015. | AFP-JIJI
Japan’s population stood at 127,094,745 as of Oct. 1, 2015, the final results of the census showed, down 0.8 percent from the previous census five years earlier and marking the first decline since the survey began in 1920.
Of the total population, including non-Japanese residents, those aged 65 or older accounted for a record-high 26.6 percent, while those below 15 years old fell to a record-low 12.6 percent, the internal affairs ministry said.
The government data showed that the number of people 65 or older rose 3.6 percentage points from the previous census in 2010 to 33,465,441. In contrast, those 14 or younger fell by 0.6 points to 15,886,810.
Comparing the new census figures against U.N. estimates, Japan remains the 10th-most populous nation. However, among the top 20 countries, it was the only one whose population declined between 2010 and 2015.
The latest results by the census, conducted every five years, also showed that the population is concentrated in Tokyo and its vicinity.
Of the 47 prefectures, the capital and neighboring Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures accounted for 28.4 percent of the total population.
The population rose only in eight prefectures — the four above as well as Aichi, Shiga, Fukuoka and Okinawa.
The population of Japanese nationals totaled 124,283,901, while the number of non-Japanese residents in the country totaled 1,752,368, the government data showed.
By nationality, Chinese nationals accounted for the largest number of expatriates at 511,118, followed by people from both South Korea and North Korea together at 376,954.
Of the country’s 1,719 municipalities, the populations in 1,419 of them decreased, according to the census.
The male population totaled 61,841,738, while the female population stood at 65,253,007.
Tokyo had the lowest number of people in a household at 1.99, falling below 2 for the first time since the government began compiling such information in 1970, the data showed. The national average of members per household is 2.33.
The preliminary figures for the census, released in February, showed the country’s population fell by 947,305 from 128,057,352 in 2010.