The combined number of babies born in Japan and to Japanese nationals living abroad stood at 872,683 in 2020, down 25,917 from a year earlier and marking the lowest level on record, according to health ministry data released Monday.

The number of deaths dropped 9,373 to 1,384,544, the first decline in 11 years, the ministry said in a preliminary report that also included data for foreign nationals living in Japan.

A total of 537,583 marriages were registered, down 78,069, or 12.7 percent, the largest margin of decline since 1950.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said the coronavirus pandemic may have affected the demographic trends, but it has yet to make a concrete determination.

The pandemic's full effect on the country's birth rate will not be known until 2021.

Japan has long been facing declining birth rates. In 2019, the number of births in the country dropped below 900,000 for the first time.