National

Population growth hits record low

Japan saw record low population growth in the 12 months to March 31 as the aging of society and declining birthrate continued, the government reported Wednesday.

According to the statistics compiled by the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry based on resident registry data, the population stood at 126,824,166, a rise of 135,802, or 0.11 percent, from the year before.

Both the rate of growth and the net increase were the lowest since the government started taking relevant statistics in 1968. The number of babies born — 1,129,239 — also was the lowest on record.

People aged 65 or older accounted for a record 19.24 percent of the population, up 0.42 percentage points from the previous year.

The average number of people per household dipped to a record low 2.54.

Males accounted for 48.96 percent of the population.

The data show that the population decline in rural areas is accelerating.

The three major urban areas surrounding Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka accounted for 49.58 percent of the nation’s population. Growth in these three areas averaged 0.36 percent, higher than the national average.

Among the 47 prefectures, Tokyo had the largest population, followed by Osaka, Kanagawa, Aichi and Saitama. Tottori Prefecture was the least populated, followed by Shimane, Kochi, Tokushima and Fukui.

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