【Aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan】No.64: Japan's Marriage Rate Has Declined Sharply

In this column series, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Research Director at CIGS introduces the latest information about aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan with data of international comparison.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced their population dynamics estimate in December 2017. As shown in Figure 1, the number of marriages in Japan peaked at 1,100 thousand in 1972 and since then it has decreased to 607 thousand in 2017.

The marriage rate is defined as the number of marriages per thousand people. This definition is used for international comparison. The marriage rate in Japan declined from 10.4 in 1972 to 4.9 in 2017. Table 1 shows a comparison of the marriage rates across different countries compiled by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. The marriage rate in Japan is not particularly low among developed countries. For example, France has a low marriage rate- 3.7, which does not include common-law marriage. Therefore, marriage rates are not easily comparable across countries.

Figure 1 Number of marriages and the marriage rate in Japan


(Source)Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare

Table 1 International comparison of marriage rates


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