The shrinking population of Japan

Why is Japan`s population shrinking? 

The shrinking population of Japan

You may have wondered why there are so many senior citizens in Japan.  Why is Japan`s population shrinking?  Quick answer: aging population and low birth rates


You may have heard of this problem.

  • Birth rate in Japan is low, far below the 2.07 kids/female where the population is said to be net flat. It is currently at 1.45 (2005), though politicians proudly say that it has bottomed a few years back.  Sure, but from a very low base.  1947, it was over 4.  As a result, population has continued to shrink since 2005.  Why?
  1. Marriage rate has been falling.
  2. People are marrying later in their lives, leading to lower chance of having children.
  3. As more women work, social infrastructure (nursery, baby sitters, etc.) is still not enough to encourage working moms to have more kids. The waiting period to get into a nursery is still long.
  4. As life expectancy becomes longer, burden of looking after ailing parents usually fall on the middle aged daughters, making it difficult to have more kids.
  5. As family size becomes smaller and people move to city centers, nuclear family does not have the same support base as that of bigger families.

The list is endless…

Graph below shows the magnitude of the problem.

Source: Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare

The current birth rate of about 1.45  is below the 2.09, needed to keep the population constant.


  • Aging fast : Population pyramid

There are two so-called baby boomer generation; First wave those born around  1947-1949 (68-70 years old) and those born in 1971-1974, now aged 43-46). there is a worryingly small portion of younger population left.  This will further lead to the silvering or aging of Japan.

Source:Statistics Bureau

Source: The World Bank

Japan ranks #1 in life expectancy, globally, according to WHO 2015 data.  (male 80.5 and female 86.8)


Below, you can see how the population pyramid has changed its shape over the years.  Very interesting as well as very depressing…   You can also see the pyramid for your country as well at this site.




Read More Articles: Column

3 Less Crowded Places in Kyoto

1 Avoid the crowd in Kyoto 2 TOJI-hidden away but you will be overwhelmed! 3 CHISAKUIN- beautiful, […]

Ochanomizu, Tokyo`s Quartier Latin

Visit Tokyo`s `Quartier Latin`, with a lot of universities, unique music and instrument stores. Very few tourists […]

Sunamachi Shopping Street

Come and enjoy the freshly made Japanese street food!  Feel the traditional nostalgia of old Tokyo.  This […]

The shrinking population of Japan

You may have wondered why there are so many senior citizens in Japan.  Why is Japan`s population […]

High Tech Toilets

Have you ever wondered why the toilets in Japan are so different to those that you use […]

Convenience Stores (konbini, コンビニ)

Visit the one closest to your place and if possible, choose 7-11.  Enjoy checking out their products, […]


1 Adventure World in Shirahama- great for family and kids. 2 Basic information on Adventure World in […]

Crafts Made in Japan by Japanese artists

Sure, there are tons of places to shop. But, if you are looking for one-and-only, hand made […]

Best Revolving Sushi Restaurant for FAMILY and KIDS: KURA

  There are lots of Sushi restaurant in Japan and you are spoilt for choice. But for […]

JAPANESE ANIMATION- “Your Name” and Ghibli Museum

1 Japanese animation 1.1 “Your Name” by Makoto Shinkai 1.2 Site visits for “Your Name” 2 Ghibli […]