Annual Number of Births in Japan Falls Below 800,000 for First Time
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Annual Number of Births in Japan Falls Below 800,000 for First Time

Demographic statistics released by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare show that in 2022 there were 770,747 births in Japan, 20,875 fewer than the previous year. This was the first time since records began in 1899 that the figure has fallen below 800,000 and was the seventh straight year of decline. The decrease has been rapid, with the number of births dropping under 1 million in 2016 and then falling below 900,000 in 2019.

The total fertility rate, indicating the number of children a woman has in her lifetime, also decreased for the seventh consecutive year to 1.26, a year-on-year decrease of 0.04 points. This put it on a par with 2005 as the lowest level on record.

Marriages rose slightly in 2022 to 504,878, although they remained near the lowest level since the end of World War II. The COVID-19 pandemic’s drag on people holding weddings is thought to have accelerated the drop in births, which was already in decline amid the larger trend for people to either marry later or to remain single.

Japan’s Demographics

2022 estimate2021
Total fertility rate1.261.30
Natural population change-798,214-628,234
Created by based on demographic statistics from the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.
Births/Deaths and Marriages/Divorces by Year

The number of deaths in 2022 increased year-on-year by 129,105, reaching 1,568,961, the most in the postwar period. The natural decrease in population, as the difference between the number of births and deaths, surpassed 600,000 for the first time in 2022, with a sudden rise by nearly 170,000 to a record high 798,214.

Overall Natural Population Increase/Decrease

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.

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