Crowds of people ready to pass the famous crossing roads at Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan in snow during morning rush hour on Jan. 30, 2015. (Shutterstock/File)
People living alone will make up nearly 40 percent of all households in Japan in 2040, a national research institute predicted Friday, as more people are delaying or shunning marriage while the number of divorces is rising.
The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research also projected that households headed by persons aged 65 or older will account for 44.2 percent that year, jumping from 36.0 percent in 2015.
Single-person households, already the largest group among Japanese households at 34.5% in 2015, are expected to further grow to 39.3% in 2040. Meanwhile, households of married couples and children, which used to account for more than 40 percent of the country's households, are projected to decline to 23.3% from 26.9%.
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As the projections cast a light on the country's aging population and the rising trend of living alone, Japan needs to develop an improved social security structure in support of elderly people living on their own, social security experts said.
According to the institute, the number of all households in Japan, 53.33 million in 2015, is expected to peak in 2023 at 54.19 million before decreasing to 50.76 million in 2040.
The number of single-person households, 18.42 million in 2015, is also forecast to peak at 20.25 million in 2030 and fall to 19.94 million in 2040.
As the country's entire population is predicted to decline as well, the ratio of one-person households is projected to rise to 39.3 percent, up about 5 percentage points from 34.5% in 2015, the institute said.