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Chapter 1 Status of Population Aging
  1.Status of Population Aging

Status and Trends of Aging

- The population aged 65 or older was 23 million 630 thousand as of October 1, 2002, whose ratio to the total population was 18.5%. While the younger old-aged population (65-74) was 13 million 590 thousand, the older old-aged population (75 years or older) was 10 million 40 thousand. The older old-aged population exceeded 10 million for the first time. (Table 1-1-1)

Table 1-1-1. Status of Aging

- The elderly population is estimated to increase rapidly until 2020 and stabilize after then. On the other had, while the total population is turning to a decrease, the ratio of older persons is estimated to continue increasing, and to reach 26.0% in 2015 and 35.7% in 2050. (Figure 1-1-2)

Figure 1-1-2. Changes of Aging and Population Projections

Aging by Region

- The percentage of older persons aged 65 or older by prefecture is low in the three biggest urban areas and high in the other areas. Shimane Prefecture is the highest, 24.8%, and Saitama is the lowest, 12.8% as of 2000. The ratio is estimated to grow in every prefecture in future. According to the projection the highest will be 33.8% in Akita Prefecture, and even the lowest will reach 22.8% in Shiga Prefecture in 2025. (Figure 1-1-3)

Table 1-1-3. Trends in Population of the Aged 65+ by Prefecture

- Municipal distribution by the percentage of older persons mainly concentrated on 10-15% in1980 and 1985; in 2000, however, 20-25% was the highest with a wider distribution.

Causes of Aging

- After World War II, average life expectancy has drastically enhanced in Japan; in 2001, males were 78.07 years old and females were 84.93. As to average life expectancy at the age of 65, males were 17.78 and females were 22.68, which shows the both old age period is getting longer. (Figure 1-1-7)

Figure 1-1-7. Trends in Life Expectancy at Birth and Average Life Expectancy at the Age of 65

- Regarding the status of birth, the total fertility rate was rapidly declining after the postwar baby boom, 2.22 in 1956, 1.91 in 1975, and in 2000 the lowest 1.36. (Figure 1-1-8)

Figure 1-1-8. Trends in Birth Number and Total Fertility Rate

Influences of Aging

- The labor force population aged 65 or older was 4.87 million in 2002, which is 7.3% of the total labor force population. As the work force population turns to a decline in future, their aging will probably grow even faster. (Figure 1-1-13)

Figure 1-1-13. Trends and Future Prospects of Labor Force Population

- Social security benefits in pension, medical health and welfare amounted to 78trillion 127.2 billion yen in 2000, 20.5% of the total national income, which was 5.8% in 1970. (Figure 1-1-14)

Figure 1-1-14. Trends in Social Security Benefits

Global Trends of Aging

- The ratio of older persons in the world is expected to rise to 15.9% in 2050 from 6.9% in 2000. Aging is estimated to grow rapidly during half the century hereafter. (Table 1-1-16)

Table 1-1-16. Trends in World Population

- In comparison of the ratio of older persons in the developed countries, Japan was in the lower-rankings until 1980s, in the middle in 1990s, and is expected to be the highest in the early 21C. (Figure 1-1-17)

Figure 1-1-17. Trends in Percentage of the Aged in the World

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