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Regional demographics

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Chapter Summary

The distribution of people across the Japanese territory is highly uneven. According to the latest census figures of 2005, total population density amounted to 343 persons per square kilometre. Since in the Japanese case the volume of international migration flows has been extremely low, regional population change during the last half-century can be interpreted as the almost exclusive result of internal migration flows on the one hand and the balance of births and deaths on the other. Post-war trends in internal migration were influenced by two main factors. The first was the demographic or "cohort size" factor and the second was the economic factor. There is another side-effect of internal migration that has major repercussions on regional development: due to the massive outmigration of young people during the era of rapid economic growth, demographic ageing in Japan is much more prevalent in the rural areas.

Keywords: demographic ageing; Japanese territory; regional population change



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