The number of homeless people in Japan fell 8.0% as of January from a year earlier to 2,820, the lowest level since data began in 2003, the health ministry said in a survey report Friday.

The improvement was due to the success of related support measures, the ministry said.

Men accounted for 2,575 of the total, while the number of women was 172. The gender was unknown for 73 individuals.

By prefecture, the figure for Osaka was highest, at 856, followed by Tokyo, with 624, and Kanagawa, at 420.

Of the national total, the 23 wards of Tokyo and 20 ordinance-designated large cities accounted for some 80%.

The survey covered municipalities across the country, except those in Ishikawa Prefecture, which was hit heavily by a powerful earthquake in January.