Tokyo population growth and construction boom

Wednesday, November 9, 2011
東京 人口と建設

Tokyo's population (here we're talking about the 23 wards, not the greater Tokyo area) hit 1 million in the late 1870s, and was over 7 million before World War 2. It was almost halved in the course of that conflict to 3.4 million in its immediate aftermath.

Tokyo population growth

Within 8 years, by 1953, it had reached its pre-war level, and until the mid-1970s it grew steadily till it was over 11.6 million in 1975. In the two decades from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, Tokyo's population hardly grew at all, shrinking slightly in the late 1970s, to then hover around the 11.7 million mark.

Since 1996, Tokyo's population has been growing, from 11.7 million to its present population of almost 13 million. The median annual growth rate of Tokyo's population during that time is about 0.77%, or roughly an extra 100,000 people every year, or over 1,900 extra people every week.

This constant growth throughout the 21st century to date means that there has been an ongoing building boom in Tokyo, mainly in the form of apartment buildings. Not only the rate, but the speed, of construction of apartment buildings in Tokyo is blinding. A typical multi-story building is complete in less than 6 months, and at no cost in terms of building safety, as was evidenced by the complete lack of any serious damage to contemporary buildings in the Great East Japan earthquake of March 11 this year that also hit Tokyo very hard.

The above photo is of a demolition presently taking place in Tokyo's Kojimachi district, one of the many areas where there has been an apartment building boom. The sound of pneumatic drills has become very much a part of the Tokyo landscape and at the rate the population of the city continues to grow, is likely to remain so.

Facts about Tokyo


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