Japan's Population in Record Decline: Startling Projections


Japan's native population declined by 430,000 people in 2018, a record 0.21%.

Japan is set to lose a midsize city, approximately the size of Austin Texas, every year according to a Financial Times report and stats from the IMF.

“The reason Japan’s population is now falling so fast is not the low birth rate but rather an increase in the number of deaths,” said Akihiko Matsutani, professor emeritus in applied economics at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

The population decline is despite record immigration.

Interesting Stats

  • There were 944,146 births in the year to October 2018 compared with 1,368,632 deaths.
  • Long-term projections suggest Japan’s population will fall to just 50 million in a hundred years. That's the same population as a hundred years ago.

I suspect the long-term projections are hugely wrong. If so, Japan's mountain of debt will pose a huge problem. Japan's battle against deflation will turn into a battle against inflation.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (71)
No. 1-23

The Baby Boomers are dying off in increasing numbers. Japan has been in government-induced 'recession' for 30 years. As the prospects of the newer generations withered so did the incentive to produce additionals burdens (i.e. children) which would have made the poor economy even more difficult to deal with. With no prospect of 'growing out of the debt burden' Japan is screwed.


Please clarify which way you think the long term projections are off.
Falling to less than 50 million total population or more? Thanks in advance. (btw, I won't be around in 50 years to see if you are correct!)


I maintain Japan's birth rate is okay as we head into a declining world economy. They're as innovative with robots and automation as anybody and they still have a cohesive society.

Abe is making a mistake following the western trend of wanting to import unskilled workers. They don't need them.

Of course Japan is screwed economically, but so is everybody else. The goal is to have a country that can weather the storm and work together rather than despising each other over every imaginable human trait. I'd much rather be in their shoes than ours.


Italy, too? A decade or two ago the projected population of Italy looked a lot like that for Japan - way-heavy on old people by 2050. The US is a bit of an outlier in such projections because of immigration.

Demographics is going to interact with breeding in "interesting ways" in the near future. We have a couple hundred million years of breeding to value kids. Rather less time to adapt to value old folks.