Ministry estimate says elderly account for record 25.9% of population


The number of people aged 65 or older in Japan will top a record 32.9 million on Monday, accounting for an all-time high of 25.9 percent of the nation’s total population, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications estimated Sunday.

The elderly population increased just over 1.1 million, or 3.5 percent, from a year before, and its share rose 0.9 percentage point, according to the estimates, released ahead of Respect-for-the-Aged Day on Monday.

The proportion of people aged 75 years or older amounts to 12.5 percent of the total population, topping the one-eighth line for the first time ever.

Men aged 65 or older total 14.21 million, or 23 percent of the total male population, while elderly women number 18.75 million, or 28.7 percent.

According to a survey conducted every five years, the number of households with an elderly member totaled 20.86 million in 2013, surpassing 20 million for the first time. Of the total, the number of single-member elderly families totaled 5.52 million, an increase of 1.38 million from the previous survey in 2008.

The survey showed that elderly people and their children are living geographically closer to each other.

Elderly people who live with their children or within less than 15 minutes away from them accounted for 25.8 percent, up 1.1 points from 2008, and those who live within less than one hour away rose 2.3 points to 49.4 percent.

In 2013, 20.1 percent of the elderly people here had jobs, up 0.4 point from 10 years ago and the highest among the Group of Eight major industrialized countries.

Japan was followed by the United States with 17.7 percent, Canada with 12.5 percent and Russia with 11 percent.

The number of elderly people with jobs hit a record high of 6.36 million, growing for the 10th consecutive year. The proportion of such people in the total workforce was 10.1 percent, an all-time high.