Nearly a quarter of Japanese men at the age of 50 are yet to marry, a nationwide census has revealed.
The report, from the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, also found one in seven Japanese women aged 50 were yet to be married.
Both figures were the highest since the census began in 1920, and represent a raise of 3.2 per cent among men and 3.4 per cent among women from the previous survey in 2010.
The growing trend was attributed to less social pressure to marry as well as financial worries.
The institute said the number of single Japanese people will likely rise, as another survey shows more young people have no intention of getting married in the future.
The research also found more than four million middle-aged singles in Japan still live with their elderly parents and depend on them financially, which researchers dubbed "parasite singles".
Japan's population is predicted to plummet from 127 million to 88 million by 2016, and is projected to drop to just 51 million by 2115 if current trends continue, according to the research.
By 2065, nearly 40 per cent of the country will be senior citizens in what economists describe as a "demographic time bomb".
Last year, Japanese birth rates dropped below one million for the first time since records began.
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