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article imageJapan's population falls for fourth straight year

By Karen Graham     Apr 18, 2015 in Science
On Friday the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications released the latest figures on the country's natural population decline, and for the very first time, the natural decline topped 250,000.
A natural population decline means that deaths exceed the number of births over a year. And for Japan, this is a statistic that keeps on growing. With the latest figures from Oct. 1, 2013 to Oct. 1, 2014, a decline of 215,000 meant a 0.17 percent reduction in population.
Japan's population, including foreign residents, is now estimated to be 127.083 million people, the lowest point in 15 years. "This means there were more than a million fewer Japanese residents in 2014 than there were at the country's population peak in 2008," according to the Current Population Estimates as of October 1, 2014.
Statistics Bureau
A breakdown by age groups shows some interesting trends. For example, one in eight people were 75-years of age or over, pointing to the continuing graying of the nation. Those people over the age of 65, now 33 million total, outnumber 15-year-old and younger by two-to-one. And of these elders, senior citizens make up 26 percent of the population.
The number of children, accounting for those up to the age of 14-years-old, are estimated to be about 16.23 million, down 157,000 from 2013. This age group accounts for 12.8 percent of the population and is a new low. The largest group, the “productive-age population,” or those aged 15 to 64, dropped 1.16 million to 77.85 million. They make up 61.3 percent of the total population.
The population numbers also showed a higher concentration of people living in Tokyo. There were also population increases in seven other prefectures, with Tokyo gaining 0.68 percent, followed by Okinawa at 0.4 percent and Saitama at 0.23 percent population increases.
Populations also grew in Okinawa, Aichi and Fukuoka prefectures. But on the downside, 40 prefectures showed population declines. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to utilize his regional revitalization policy to move people out of Tokyo and into regional areas, however, with the flow being so strong in the opposite direction, he may have problems.
More about Population Decline, Japan, fourth straight year, Aging population, declining birthrate
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