Child population falls below 15 mil. for 1st time

The number of children under 15 in Japan fell to 14.93 million as of April 1, the lowest figure logged since comparable records were available in 1950, according to data released by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry on Tuesday, the day before the Children’s Day national holiday.

The estimated tally was 190,000 lower than the previous year and marks the 40th consecutive year of decline since 1982. It is the first time the number has fallen below 15 million.

The figure once again shines a spotlight on the chronic issue of Japan’s declining birthrate.

The number of children in the 0-2 age group was the lowest at 2.65 million, followed by 2.92 million in the 3-5 age group and 2.98 million in the 6-8 age group. The highest number was the 12-14 age group at 3.24 million.

The declining birthrate is evident in the results: The lower the age group, the smaller the population size.

By gender, there were 7.65 million boys and 7.28 million girls.

The percentage of children in the total population (125.41 million) was a record low 11.9%, down 0.1 percentage point from the previous year. The figure exceeded one-third of the total population in 1950. The percentage of children has declined for 47 consecutive years since 1975, after the nation’s second baby boom.