Japan Population 2016

Japan, the island nation in East Asia, is a fairly sizable archipelago of 6,852 islands, although the four largest islands (Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shitoku) account for 97% of its population. The last set of official figures pertaining to Japan’s population were released at the time of the 2010 census and the final statistics showed there were 128,056,026 people there, which would make Japan the tenth largest country in the world. The most recent estimate places the number lower at 126.82 million, still the world's 10th most populous country. Though in decline, it still holds that position in 2016 with an estimated 126.4 million people.

The commonly held view that the population of Japan is in line for a sharp decline is backed up by the numbers. Based on the projections by the United Nations (visible in the graph below), the downturn will continue, and possibly accelerate.

Japan is comprised of more than 6,800 islands, although its largest four claim 97% of its population. The 2016 estimated population of 127 million represents a major decline from its official 2010 census, and this is a major problem that Japan will need to face in coming years.

As we’ve seen, the final census figures for 2010 showed a final count of 128,056,026 people with a population density of 336 people per square kilometers, thereby making Japan the 40th most densely populated country on the planet.

Japan Demographics

Unlike many other countries around the world today, the population of Japan appears largely homogenous with the final population statistics comprised of a 98.5% contribution from ethnic Japanese people. In addition, there is a very small proportion of foreign workers living here, largely made up of Koreans, Chinese, Peruvians and Brazilians.

The largest native ethnic group in Japan is the Yamato people, although large minority groups include the indigenous Ryukyuan and Ainu peoples. While Japan may seem homogenous in terms of ethnicity and culture, this may be due to Japan's absence of racial and ethnic statistics for Japanese nationals. The country has traditionally rejected the need to recognize ethnic differences in Japan, and former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso once described the country as one of "one nation, one civilization, one language, one culture and one race."

Japan is currently the world's oldest country, and it's set to get even older. In 2050, it's estimated by the government that 40% of Japan's population will be over 65. In the last few decades, the country's social security budget has increased 15%. While 5 decades ago there were 12 workers for every retiree, there will be an equal 1:1 ratio in 50 years. This is one of any demographics problems Japan must address.

Reasons for Falling Numbers

Some reports claim that Japan’s total population could fall by as much as 30% to around 87 million by 2050 and the reasons, quite simply, point to a disparity in the birth and death rates. In addition, it’s impossible to rule out the part that the March 2011 tsunami and earthquake played. 19,000 people lost their lives at the time, and it’s widely accepted that the incidents will have a ‘knock-on’ effect of reducing overall life expectancy.

The difference between rising death rates and lower birth rates is also clearly a factor with low fertility rates among women shouldering part of the blame. Experts attribute Japan's low growth to the high cost of raising children in the country, the growing number of women who choose to work longer and have a career rather than have children, and Japan's reluctance to accept immigrants.

Another statistic that doesn’t help the population decline is the alarming number of suicides in young people.

Unfortunately, Japan has one of the world's highest suicide rates, and suicide is the leading cause of death for people under 30. Factors in suicides in the country include social pressure, depression and unemployment, and the National Police Agency found that suicides linked to job loss increased 65.4%. There was a suicide in Japan every 15 minutes, with close to 33,000 reported in 2009. Luckily, suicide rates have been on the decline for three consecutive years. This is just one of the many problems Japan will need to control to see its population and economy grow into the future.

The Future of Japan

Overall, Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world even though it is expected to fall slightly in the near future. However, with low birth rates, the population is rapidly aging but in 2007, the country announced its first significant birth rate increase in many years, so could the predictions be false?

Incentives to have more children are also being announced, but as a whole, the country is just starting to feel the effects of a post-war baby boom, many of whom are now nearing the end of their years.

Slowing population growth and an aging population are creating more than a headache for the island nation, as this problem is shrinking its pool of taxable citizens, causing the social welfare costs to skyrocket, and has led to Japan becoming the most indebted industrial nation with public debt that is double its economy.

It's possible that Japan's population will drop to just 96 million (from 2013's 126 million) by 2050, and the country as a whole is involved in serious debate about how to fix this problem. While birth incentives and immigration incentives are often suggested as the solution to bring the young workers necessary to support the country's aging population, time will tell if this is enough.

Japan's population growth rate in 2011 slowed to just 0.02%, a record low. This rate was actually higher than expected, according to an internal affairs ministry official.

Japan Population Clock

What is the population of Japan (as of [[date]])? [[getCurrentPopulation()]]
Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2016) [[getLastEstimate()]]
Births Per Day 2,781
Deaths Per Day 3,759
Net Migrations Per Day 137
Net Change Per Day -841
Population Change Since January 1st [[getPopChangeThisYear()]]
  • Net [[getIncreaseOrDecrease()]] of 1 person every [[getDurationPerPerson()]]

  • Population estimated based on interpolation of World Population Prospects data.

Japan Population Indicators

Indicator Value World Ranking
Crude Birth Rate 8.074 births/thousand 189th
Crude Death Rate 10.911 deaths/thousand 28th
Crude Net Migration Rate 0.397 people/thousand 55th
Life Expectancy (Both Sexes) 84.08 years 2nd
Life Expectancy (Male) 80.8 years 8th
Life Expectancy (Female) 87.28 years 2nd
Total Fertility Rate 1.463 children/woman 176th
Net Reproduction Rate 0.707 surviving daughters/woman 175th
Sex Ratio At Birth 1.056 males per female 60th
Infant Mortality Rate 1.884 deaths/1,000 live births 187th
Under Five Mortality 2.602 deaths/thousand 185th
Mean Age at Childbearing 31.445 years 14th

Population Data via United Nations WPP (2015 Revision)

Japan Population Growth

Japan's efforts to increase its birth rate have been unsuccessful and the country's population is slowly declining. The population may fall to just 107 million from the current 126.6 million by 2050.

Japan Population History

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Density Rank Growth Rate World Rank
2016 126,323,715 48.6% 51.4% 346 23 -0.22% 11
2015 126,573,481 48.6% 51.4% 347 23 -0.2% 11
2010 127,319,802 48.7% 51.3% 349 22 -0.05% 10
2005 126,978,754 48.8% 51.2% 348 18 0.12% 10
2000 125,714,674 48.9% 51.1% 344 16 0.21% 9
1995 124,483,305 49% 51% 341 15 0.25% 7
1990 122,249,285 49% 51% 335 15 0.37% 7
1985 119,988,663 49.1% 50.9% 329 14 0.47% 7
1980 115,912,104 49.2% 50.8% 317 15 0.78% 7
1975 110,804,519 49.2% 50.8% 303 15 1.07% 6
1970 103,707,537 49% 51% 284 14 1.37% 6
1965 97,341,852 49% 51% 267 15 1.18% 6
1960 92,500,754 49.1% 50.9% 253 15 0.92% 5
1955 88,389,994 49.1% 50.9% 242 12 0.98% 5
1950 82,199,470 49% 51% 225 11 1.92% 5

Japan Population Projections

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Density Rank Growth Rate World Rank
2020 125,039,024 48.6% 51.4% 342 25 -0.31% 11
2025 122,839,664 48.5% 51.5% 336 27 -0.41% 12
2030 120,127,264 48.4% 51.6% 329 29 -0.49% 14
2035 117,063,487 48.4% 51.6% 321 34 -0.55% 15
2040 113,787,746 48.4% 51.6% 312 36 -0.58% 15
2045 110,521,006 48.5% 51.5% 303 39 -0.58% 17
2050 107,411,392 48.5% 51.5% 294 40 -0.56% 17
2055 104,453,370 48.5% 51.5% 286 41 -0.57% 18
2060 101,440,017 48.5% 51.5% 278 43 -0.61% 19
2065 98,291,341 48.5% 51.5% 269 44 -0.65% 21
2070 95,134,552 48.6% 51.4% 260 49 -0.64% 24
2075 92,266,868 48.7% 51.3% 253 52 -0.56% 25
2080 89,870,925 48.8% 51.2% 246 55 -0.48% 25
2085 87,848,159 48.9% 51.1% 240 56 -0.42% 26
2090 86,108,219 49% 51% 236 55 -0.37% 28
2095 84,577,385 49.1% 50.9% 232 55 -0.34% 29
Data Sources
  1. World Population Prospects - Global demographic estimates and projections by the United Nations