Housing in Tokyo is 30% smaller than the national average

Housing in Tokyo is notoriously small and cramped, and a report issued last year by the Statistics Division of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government proves it.

According to the Living & Statistics 2020, the average dwelling in the capital has a total floor area of 65.18 sqm (701 sq.ft), making it the smallest out of Japan’s 47 prefectures. In fact, this is almost 30% smaller than the nationwide average (92.06 sqm).

This shouldn’t come as a surprise with a population of 14 million living in a 2,194 square kilometer area. It’s the most populated prefectural district in the country, while also having the highest population density. With around 6,300 people per km2, it is similar in terms of population density to San Francisco. In Tokyo’s 23 wards, however, the density is 15,381 people per km2, making it 50% higher than New York City as a whole. Nakano ward’s density of 21,956/km2, does rank a little closer to Manhattan (around 28,000/km2).

In 2020, the home-ownership ratio in Tokyo was 45%, below the national average of 61.2%. Okinawa has the lowest ratio in Japan at 44.4%. Akita Prefecture has the highest ratio with 77.3% of households owning their home.

In Tokyo’s 23 wards, just 58.4% of the 62,873 hectares of land is for building purposes, with a further 22% covered by roads, and 6.5% dedicated to parks.

Source: Statistics Division, Bureau of General Affairs, Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

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