【Aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan】No.212: Decreasing number of schools due to declining birthrate is accelerating rural depopulation

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.

In Column No. 211, I explained that the number of births has been falling at a rate faster than predicted by the government's population projections report of 2017. Consequently, the number of elementary schools, junior high schools, and high schools, which are mainly established by local governments, has begun to decrease significantly since 2000, as shown in table 1. This has further accelerated the process of rural depopulation.

On the other hand, despite the decline in youth population, the number of universities established by local governments and private organizations continue to increase. This has given rise to the concern that the management of these universities will become unstable and the quality of higher education will decline. Therefore, as described in Column No. 106, the need to consolidate universities is expected to increase in the future.

Table 1 Number of schools and universities


(Source)Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)

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