Japan’s population has been declining since 2009. In 2009, the population was 128.56 million and is expected to be 126.48 million by the end of 2020. The population is expected to fall below 100 million by 2058.
The main cause of Japan’s population decline is the rapidly decreasing number of births, which is currently at the lowest it has been since data started being collected in 1899. In 2019, only 864,000 babies were born in Japan – 54,000 less than the number from 2018. The fertility rate in Japan is 1.4 births per woman – far below the population replacement of 2.1.
Japan's efforts to increase its birth rate have been unsuccessful and the country's population is slowly declining. Some blame the economy, stating that childcare is too expensive and there is a lack of stable, well-paying jobs that would allow men to provide for their families.
Japan Population Growth
Japan’s population began to decline in 2011. The nation’s birthrate is at its lowest since 1899, with fewer babies being born each year than the previous year. In 2018, there were less than 1 million babies born for the third year in a row and a fertility rate of only 1.45 births per woman.
One reason that the Japanese birth rate may be so low is the lack of good jobs for Japanese men, who are still expected to be the breadwinners and provide for their families. The lack of good, well-paying jobs in the market is preventing men and their partners from starting families because they cannot afford to do so.
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.
Japan's population growth rate declined in 2015 to -0.07%. Combined with an aging population, Japan loses population numbers each year equivalent to a midsized city.
Japan Population Projections
The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research estimates that Japan’s population will decrease to 100 million people by 2049 from where it is now at 127 million and will continue to decrease to just above 50 million by 2100. Japan’s population decline has several social and economic repercussions, such as one-third of the population being elderly by 2036 and a lack of working-age people to help keep the economy growing.
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.