- The Iona Institute - https://ionainstitute.ie -

Japan’s depopulation ‘critical’ as fertility rate hits historic low

Japan’s fertility rate hit a new record low of 1.20 in 2023 [1], far below the replacement rate of 2.1, health ministry data showed today, prompting one Government official to label the situation ‘critical’. There were almost 850,000 more deaths than births.

The latest figure is 0.06 point down from the previous year and the lowest since the government started keeping records in 1947.

The fertility rate — the number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime — has been in decline for decades. The figure stood at 1.76 in 1985, then fell to 1.45 in 2015 and 1.33 in 2020 as more women choose to marry and start a family later in life.

The number of births hit a record low at 727,277, down 43,482 births from 2022. Marriages fell to 474,717, which is 30,213 fewer than 2022. The number of divorces rose to 183,808, or 4,709 more than in 2022.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said during a news conference that the nation’s depopulation trend was in a critical phase.