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Japan’s population growth during the past 100 years

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the period of population change during the past 135 years is divided into four demographically distinctive eras. They are: (1) the period between 1870 and 1945, here called the first stage of demographic transition, (2) the period between 1945 and around 1960, the second stage of demographic transition, (3) the period between around 1960 and the mid-1970s, the era of 'population bonus', and (4) the period after the mid-1970s, the era of declining fertility to below replacement level. Demographically, the fifteen years just after World War II were an important turning-point in modern Japan, despite being a relatively short period. This is because Japan substantively completed both fertility transition and epidemiological transition in this period, decelerated its population increase and started population ageing. The main demographic cause of phenomenal fertility decline is the postponement of marriage and childbearing.

Keywords: fertility transition; Japanese population



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