Births in Japan drop to new record low

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Births in Japan dropped to a new low in 2023, with the country recording more than twice as many deaths as new babies, according to government data.

The same data also showed marriages at their lowest since 1933.

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The numbers highlight the dramatic demographic challenges facing the world’s fourth-biggest economy including worker shortages and providing healthcare for the one in 10 people now over 80 years old.

Births in 2023 fell for the eighth consecutive year, to 758,631, a drop of 5.1 percent, preliminary data released Tuesday showed.

The number of deaths, at 1,590,503, was more than double that figure, meaning the overall population declined by 831,872.

Births peaked in the post-war baby boom period between 1947 and 1949, with more than 2.5 million people born per year, according to a health ministry official in charge of the data.

During a second baby boom between 1971 and 1974, the yearly number of births stood at around two million, she told AFP.

In 2023, 489,281 marriages were registered, down 5.9 percent from the previous year and the first time they were under half a million.

The number is the lowest since 1933, when 486,058 couples tied the knot. At the time, the Japanese population was roughly 70 million compared to around 124 million now.

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