The survey found that the number of children born in 1993 was about 1.19 million, a decrease of 20,000 from the year before. The birth rate was 9.6 per 1,000 persons, down from the 1992 figure of 9.8, the lowest ever recorded since 1899 when the Ministry began compiling these statistics.
The number of births by a mother's age shows a decline for each age group. In addition, with more women putting off marriage, the age at which they have the first child tends to rise. The age at which a woman bears the first child was 25.7 in 1975 and 26.7 in 1985. In 1989 it reached 27 for the first time, and thereafter has continued to inch up, before hitting 27.2 in 1993.
The total fertility rate was revised to 1.46, a new record low, in 1993. It was called the "1.53 shock" and was in the news of 1991. The average number of children that a woman is estimated to bear in her lifetime was calculated from the total of age-wise birth rates for women between 15 and 49 who are generally expected to have a child. The rate has continued to fall since 1985.
The rate for Tokyo was conspicuously low at 1.10, followed by such big cities as Osaka (1.31) and Kyoto (1.32). In Tokyo, the average age at which women marry was 27.0, reaching the 27-year-old level for the first time since the Ministry started to compile these statistics. Against the backdrop of changing attitudes toward work and housing difficulties, the number of women not having children is increasing. What is more, the general trend is for a couple to have one child or two in case it has any.
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