Proportion of older households living on pension alone fell to just over half in 2018, ministry survey shows


A majority of elderly households live on pension income alone, a welfare ministry survey showed Tuesday.

The share of elderly households who said pension or military pension benefits are their only source of income fell to 51.1 percent in 2018.

The figure, which had stood at 52.2 percent in 2017, has been declining since it peaked at 57.8 percent in 2013, apparently reflecting an increase in the number of elderly who continue to work.

The release of the data comes amid growing uncertainty over life after retirement, exacerbated by a controversial government report that said an elderly couple needs about ¥20 million in savings, in addition to their public pensions, for survival after retirement.

The survey, conducted between June and July last year, covered households comprising only people aged 65 or older as well as such households that were also home to unmarried people under the age of 18.

The average annual income in households with only elderly inhabitants came to ¥3,349,000. Of that total income, pension or military pension benefits accounted for 61.1 percent, while earned income, such as salaries or business income, made up 25.4 percent.

Across all households surveyed the average annual income was ¥5,516,000, with 62.4 percent of them earning less than the average.

For the households with unmarried family members under the age of 18, average annual income came to ¥7,436,000 — apparently boosted by parents’ income.

The share of all households who said they were finding life hard rose to 57.7 percent, from 55.8 in 2017, showing the first increase in four years. The comparable figure for elderly-only households was 55.1 percent, and 62.1 percent for households that were home to unmarried family members.

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