For the first time, Japan’s over-75s make up more than 15% of the population after their cohort grew by 720,000 to 19.37 million people, according to government data released on Sunday, further evidence of rapid aging of the country’s society.
The over-65s, or elderly, who made up 29.1% of the population, or 36.27 million people, also hit record highs this year, according to Home Office and Communications Department data released before Monday’s Respect for the Elderly Day.
Japan tops the world rankings for the oldest society in proportion over 65, well above Italy in second place with 24.1% and Finland in third place with 23. 3%.
The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research predicts that older people will make up 35.3% of the population by 2040. A rise in the number of older people presents challenges for the country, especially with regard to improving the health system and efforts to reverse low birth rates and support regional communities. .
Government data from 2021 also showed that the number of older people employed rose for an 18th consecutive year, rising by 60,000 to 9.09 million.
While the proportion of over-65s working was on par with last year’s 25.1%, for the first time the majority of people aged 65-69 (50.3%) were in employment. Seniors made up 13.5% of the workforce, 0.1 points below last year’s record.
But there were signs of older people quitting their jobs due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, with a noticeable downward trend seen since August 2021.
According to the data, as of Thursday, some 15.74 million elderly men and 20.53 million women are aged 65 or older. The increase in over-75s is attributed to the fact that the first baby boomers from 1947 to 1949 reached their 75th birthday.
About 12.35 million people are aged 80 and over, or 9.9% of the population, and about 2.65 million people are over 90, or about 2.1% of the country.
When the Ministry of Communications released the same figures last September, it said there were around 36.40 million elderly people in the country, but the data was later revised down based on the national census. from 2020 to 36.21 million.