Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 February 2012
Data for sets of multiples under 16 years of age were obtained from the population censuses of Japan in 1990 and 1995. These numbered 147,188 twin pairs, 1410 sets of triplets, 59 sets of quadruplets, and 3 sets of quintuplets in 1990, with the corresponding numbers in 1995 being 141,354, 2,211, 136 and 12, respectively. The total number of sets of multiples was 148,660 in 1990 and 143,713 in 1995. Twinning, triplet, quadruplet and quintuplet rates were estimated for each age. Rates of monozygotic twins and triplets remained constant age by age up to 15 years, while the dizygotic twinning rate, and rates of di- and tri-zygotic triplets decreased over the same period. Quadruplet and quintuplet rates also decreased. The accuracy of estimating number of multiples from census data is discussed using data on vital statistics.