Okinawa’s birth rate the highest in Japan for 37 consecutive years and divorce rate is also top, but marriage rate comes second

December 9, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

Statistics released recently by the Okinawa Prefectural Department of Welfare and Health from its Population Survey Report – Definite Values for 2010, have clarified that the overall fertility rate, an estimated number of children each woman in Okinawa has in her lifetime is 1.87 (nationwide average 1.39), and the birth rate per 1000 people is 12.3 (nationwide 8.5), with both of these the highest in Japan. Okinawa has taken first place in Japan for the total fertility rate for 36 consecutive years, and 37 consecutive years for the birth rate.

The natural population growth rate for Okinawa, that is, the number of births minus deaths per 1000 people, was 5.0 percent (6942 person), which also ranked top. While on a national level the number of deaths exceeded the number of births by 125708, and population has been decreasing as the natural population growth rate has slipped to minus 1.0 percent, only seven prefectures including the Tokyo metropolitan area and Okinawa have managed population gains.

The mortality rate per 1000 people in Okinawa ranked 47th in the country at 7.3 (nationwide 9.5). The leading cause of death was cancer, second was heart disease followed by cerebrovascular disease.

The marriage rate (8892 couples) was 6.4 (nationwide 5.5), which ranked second in the country. On average, a couple got married every 59 minutes seven seconds, with the mean age at the first marriage for men being 29.9, and for women 28.4.

The divorce rate (3580 couples) was 2.58 (nationwide 1.99), the highest in Japan. This figure means that in Okinawa, effectively a couple divorces every two hours 26 minutes 49 seconds.

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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