Japanese age demographics (2006) graphThe Japanese Government’s Statistical Bureau recently released statistics on what I think is the biggest problem that will face Japan in the coming year, namely the decline in the number of births, which coupled with the aging population, is going to put an enormous strain on Japan’s finances in the years to come.

This year too (measured on the first of April) the number of children aged under 15 hit another record low, a 25 year unbroken decline in the birth rate. The headline figures are 17,470,000 children under 15 years old, representing 13.7% of the population, down 0.1 percentage points from last year. There also seems to be an imbalance in the sex distribution, with 105.3 boys for every 100 girls. The reason for this may be worth investigating.

Looking at it in more details, the following table groups the number of children for every three years of age. The figures are in millions:

  Total 0-2 y.o. 3-5 y.o. 6-8 y.o. 9-11 y.o. 12-14 y.o.
Total 17.47 3.29 3.47 3.53 3.59 3.59
Male 8.96 1.69 1.78 1.81 1.84 1.84
Female 8.51 1.60 1.69 1.72 1.75 1.75

Japanese age demographics (2015) graphLooking ahead nine years, the adjacent graph illustrates the predicted demographics then. By that time, the population will also have decreased slightly from the current 127.78 million to about 126.27 million.

The report also breaks down the children percentage by prefecture. Whilst all bar one of the prefectures are within 2% of the average rate, with Akita and Tokyo bringing up the rear, the only slight bright spot is the tropical islands of Okinawa. The people of the island do have the image of longevity, but they do have a child population rate of 18.4% of the total population, almost five points above the average!


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