The number of children in Japan has fallen to a new low, while the amount of people over 65 has reached a record high as the population ages and shrinks, the government said.
There were an estimated 16.33 million children aged under 15 as of 1 April, down 160,000 from a year earlier, the internal affairs and communications ministry said on Sunday. It was the 33rd straight annual decline and the lowest level since records began in 1950.
Children accounted for 12.8% of the population, the ministry said. By contrast, the ratio of people aged 65 or older was at a record high, making up 25.6% of the population. Jiji Press said that, of countries with a population of at least 40 million, Japan had the lowest ratio of children to the total population – compared with 19.5% for the United States and 16.4% for China.
Last month, the government said the number of people in the world's third largest economy dropped by 0.17% to 127,298,000 as of 1 October 2013. This includes long-staying foreigners.
The proportion of people aged 65 or over is forecast to reach nearly 40% in 2060, the government has warned.