Japan Data

Life Expectancy for Japanese Men and Women at New Record High

Health Society

Among Japanese babies born in 2018, 26.5% of boys and 50.5% of girls are expected to live to 90.

Click here for life expectancy figures in 2019 (published in August 2020).

The average life expectancy in Japan was 81.25 years for men and 87.32 years for women in 2018, the highest figures ever recorded. When statistics were first collected in 1947, life expectancy was 50.06 years for men and 53.96 years for women. Since then, huge advances in treating disease, along with the public’s rising health awareness, have contributed to the population’s ever-lengthening lifespan. Life expectancy figures have risen steadily for seven years for men and six years for women.

Of 2018’s new citizens, 89.5% of boys and 94.5% of girls are expected to live to age 65, while 26.5% of boys and 50.5% of girls are expected to reach the age of 90. These are also record figures.

Examining year-on-year changes in average lifespan by cause of death reveals that both men and women who ultimately died of cancer, heart disease, strokes, and pneumonia in 2018 lived longer overall.

The MHLW estimates that 28.72% of men and 20.01% of women born in Japan in 2018 will die of cancer. Even though it is no longer an incurable disease, it remains the top cause of death among both men and women. If it could be eradicated, reducing the number of cancer deaths to zero, it is estimated that men would live 3.54 years, and women 2.84 years, longer.

Average Life Expectancy by Country/Region

  Men Women
1 Hong Kong 82.17 Hong Kong 87.56
2 Switzerland 81.4* Japan 87.32
3 Japan 81.25 Spain 85.73*
4 Norway 81.00 South Korea 85.7*
5 Sweden 80.78 Switzerland 85.4*

Created by Nippon.com based on figures released by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. *2017 data.

(Originally published in Japanese on July 26, 2018; updated on August 2, 2019. Banner photo © Pixta.)

Health life expectancy