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East Japan Has High Ratio of Unmarried Men-to-Women as Young Women Move to Tokyo; Fueling Depopulation Trend in Rural Areas

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Cabinet Office building in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo

The ratio of unmarried men is high compared to unmarried women in the Tohoku, northern Kanto, and Koshinetsu regions because many young women from those regions move to the Tokyo metropolitan area, according to analysis by the Cabinet Office.

The office, which researched unmarried people aged 20 to 34, warned the situation “leads to a further decline in birthrates and population, which could endanger the viability of regional economies.”

According to office’s regional economic report for 2023, the ratio in 2020 was highest at 1.35 in Fukushima Prefecture, followed by Ibaraki Prefecture with 1.33. Five other prefectures had ratios above 1.3, with the national average at 1.15 and the lowest at 1.01 in Fukuoka Prefecture.

A 2022 analysis of migration flow into and out of Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa showed that the outflow of women aged 15-29 outnumbered the inflow of the population group with notable margins in the Tohoku, north Kanto and Koshinetsu regions.

In a survey of those who moved to the Tokyo metropolitan area, more women than men gave responses such as “at gatherings in their hometowns, only women served tea and made preparations.”

To be able to maintain a balance between the ratio of men to women, a Cabinet Office official said, “it is necessary to raise awareness and improve the work environment so women can attain important roles in society.”