For the first time ever, 10% of Japan’s population is 80 or older

We’ve reported here previously that Japan represents an ongoing sneak preview of longevity and its implications. It’s already the “oldest” society, and how it deals with aging — from health to retirement to caregiver robots — provides a panorama of the issues, the problems, and the possible solutions.

Now comes word, as reported here, that for the first time ever, the number of people aged 80 and older has reached 10% of the total Japanese population.

That number is 12.59 million people, about 300,000 higher than the previous year.

Looking at the 65+ population (because 65 is the traditional age of retirement), Japan has 36.2 million people in that age group, representing almost 30% of the total population. Government statisticians project that this percentage will increase to 34.8% by 2040.

By contrast, the 65+ population of the USA is about 55.9 million, representing just under 17% of the total, while the 80+ segment of that is 12.2 million, or just under 4% of the total. But the “older” cohorts are growing more quickly than any other age groups. The 85+ population, for example, grew 16% over the past seven years.

So it’s worth keeping an eye on how Japan is dealing with this continuing shift toward an older population.

One clear indicator is a topic we’ve dealt with often here: the end of “automatic” retirement at 65.

From the article: “In 2022, a record 9.12 million elderly people held jobs, up 30,000 from the previous year and breaking the record for 19 consecutive years, according to the Labor Force Survey. The elderly accounted for 13.6 percent of all people with jobs, an all-time high. By age group, a record 50.8 percent of those between 65 and 69 had jobs, as did 33.5 percent of those between 70 and 74, another record.”

No surprise. The same is already happening here — and lots more to come.

(Photo credit: Kazuma Seki at iStock by Getty)


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