The number of children under 15 in Japan fell to a new record low on April 1, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said May 4.
With only 16.65 million children in this age bracket across the country on April 1, down from 16.77 million a year earlier, Japan has the lowest share of any country with reliable statistics and a population of more than 40 million.
This year’s fall was the 31st consecutive annual drop.
Under-15s accounted for 13 percent of the total population of 127.65 million. That share has fallen for 38 consecutive years, the ministry said.
Both the number of children and share of the total population are the lowest since comparable statistics became available in 1950.
According to the ministry’s data, there were 8.52 million boys and 8.12 million girls. When the children were grouped into three-year age brackets, their numbers were smaller for the younger categories: 3.57 million children were aged between 12 and 14; 3.47 million between 9 and 11; 3.25 million between 6 and 8; 3.21 million between 3 and 5; and 3.16 million up to the age of 2.
Analysis of statistics from Oct. 1, 2011, showed that the ratio of children was the largest in Okinawa at 17.7 percent (247,000). The number of children in Tokyo increased 5,000 year on year to 1,491,000, but the share of the total population, 11.3 percent, was the lowest among all prefectures and, in raw numbers, on a par with Akita Prefecture’s 121,000 children.
Many people have evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture following last year’s Fukushima disaster. The prefecture had 263,000 children, or 13.2 percent of its total population, but the year-on-year decrease was 13,000, the largest of any prefecture.
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