Japan’s demographic crisis has worsened, according to the latest government figures revealing that over 10% of the country’s population — one in every 10 people — is now aged 80 or older.
Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications shared the figures on Monday, coinciding with the country’s “Respect for the Aged Day.”
The ministry’s report also highlighted that 29.1% of Japan’s citizens are aged 65 or older, which is the “the highest percentage of elderly population in the world.”
Why it’s significant: Japan’s aging population, coupled with a plummeting birth rate and a dwindling workforce, poses serious challenges for funding pensions and healthcare in the coming years.
Higher death rate than birth rate: The country’s population has been on a steady decline since the 1980s, with a fertility rate of just 1.3. Considering the absence of significant immigration, this figure is considered far below the 2.1 rate needed for stability. The country’s death rate has consistently surpassed its birth rate for over a decade, making it a pressing concern for local leaders.
Putting the elderly to work: Japan has one of the highest life expectancies globally. Over the past decade, the Japanese government has actively encouraged seniors and stay-at-home mothers to rejoin the workforce in a bid to address the growing labor shortage and revitalize the stagnant economy.
A record number of elderly individuals joined the workforce last year, reaching 9.12 million — a consecutive yearly increase for the last 19 years. The employment rate among the elderly stood at 25.2% in 2022, ranking high among major economies. This included 50.8% of those aged 65 to 69 and 33.5% of those aged 70 to 74.