WHITE PAPER ON YOUTH 2004 -- Part 1 Present State of Youths in Japan

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Part 1 Present State of Youths in Japan

Chapter 1 Youth Population


Section 1 Present State and Trends of the Youth Population

As of October 1, 2003, the total national population was 127,619,000, of which the youth population (aged 0 to 24) was 32,761,000, 25.7% of the national total.

Both the youth population and the ratio to national total have been steadily decreasing since 1955. (Figure 1)

Figure 1 Youth Population and Ratio to National Total

Source:"National Census" and "Population Estimates" (As of October 1 of each year), Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
Note:Figures up to 1970 do not include Okinawa data.

Section 2 Youth Population

(Birth Rate)

The birth rate (number of new born babies per 1,000 persons) in Japan was in the thirties before WWII, but showed rapid decline after the postwar baby boom from 1947 to 1949. During the period from 1955 to 1973, except in 1966 (when the birthrate plunged in what is called the Hinoeuma year (fire horse year)*), it had remained almost unchanged in a range between 15 and 20. Immediately after 1973, it went on a downtrend again, reaching 9.2 in 2002. (Figure 2)

*The Hinoeuma year in Chinese astrology comes once every 60 years. In Japan, women born in the Hinoeuma year are believed to be headstrong and deadly to men. This superstition was spread widely among the population and people avoided having children in the Hinoeuma year.

Figure 2 Birth Rate (per 1,000)

Source: "Population Trend Statistics," Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare
Note:Figures up to 1972 do not include Okinawa data.

(Marriage)

The average age for first marriages in Japan is 29.1 years old for males, and 27.4 for females, and has been on an upward trend for both males and females. (Figure 3)

Figure 3 Average Age for First Marriage

Source:"Population Trend Statistics," Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare
Note:Figures up to 1972 do not include Okinawa data.

(Death)

The death rate of youths (aged 0 to 24) by specific cause of death in 2002 shows that the biggest cause in infants less than one year was "congenital deformity and chromosome disorder", and "accidental death" in the age groups 1 to 4, 5 to 6, 10 to 14, and 15- to 19 and was "suicide" in the 20 to 24 age group (Table 1).

Table 1 Death Rate by Specific Cause of Death (Per 100,000 persons; By Age Group)

Category
Total
death rate
Total Accidental
death
Suicide Malignant
neoplasm
Heart Disease
(excluding
hyper-tension)
Cerebro-vascular
disease
Pneumonia Congenital
Deformity,
chromosome
disorder
Less than a year old 2001 307.4 18.1 - 0.9 10.9 1.3 5.1 111.5
2002 303.1 14.5 - 1.6 12.5 0.8 3.8 120.4
1-4 years old 2001 28.6 7.1 - 2.1 1.7 0.3 1.4 5
2002 26.8 6.3 - 2.2 1.6 0.1 1.4 4.4
5-9 years old 2001 11.9 4.2 0 2 0.7 0.2 0.3 0.9
2002 12.3 4.7 - 1.8 0.7 0.2 0.5 0.7
10-14 years old 2001 10.3 2.3 0.9 2.2 1 0.2 0.4 0.7
2002 10.4 2.8 0.6 2.1 0.7 0.1 0.4 0.6
15-19 years old 2001 31.8 13.7 6.6 3 1.8 0.4 0.3 0.6
2002 30.8 12.7 5.8 3.3 1.8 0.4 0.4 0.7
20-24 years old 2001 45.6 15.9 14.8 3.9 2.7 0.7 0.5 0.6
2002 44.3 14.1 15.1 3.6 2.9 0.8 0.7 0.5

Source:Population Trend Statistics, Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare
Note:1. The death rate for infants less than one year is the number of deaths per 100,000 capita.
2. "-" indicates that there are no figures; "0.0" indicates that the rate is minute (less than 0.05).

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