Japan Data

Life Expectancy in Japan Falls for the First Time in a Decade

Society Health Economy

Among Japanese babies born in 2021, 52% of girls and 27.5% of boys are expected to live to 90.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the average life expectancy in Japan in 2021 was 87.57 years for women and 81.47 years for men. Compared to the record highs achieved in 2020, this fell by 0.14 years for women and 0.09 years for men. It was the first time in a decade, after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, that the average lifespan had decreased from the previous year for both men and women. Up to 2020 there were new records for nine consecutive years for men and eight consecutive years for women.

In 2021, COVID-19 reduced life expectancy by 0.07 years for women and 0.10 years for men. This was a much greater impact than 2020, when these figures were 0.02 years and 0.03 years, respectively. For diseases such as cancer and pneumonia though, year-on-year changes in average lifespan show a positive trend, so it is thought that people will continue to live longer.

For babies born in Japan in 2021, 52.0% of girls and 27.5% of boys are expected to live until they are 90. Up to age 95, the percentage is 27.1% for girls and 10.1% for boys.

The probability for those born in 2021 dying from cancer in the future was 19.86% for girls and 27.66% for boys. While cancer is no longer incurable, it still remains the leading cause of death for both men and women. It is estimated that if cancer could be overcome and the number of people dying from the disease reduced to zero, women would live 2.81 years longer and men a further 3.43 years.

Average Life Expectancy by Country/Region

Men Women
1 Hong Kong 82.97 Hong Kong 87.67
2 Switzerland 81.6 Japan 87.57
3 Norway 81.59 South Korea *86.5
4 Japan 81.47 Singapore 85.9
5 Sweden 81.21 Spain 85.83

Created by Nippon.com based on figures released by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. *2020 data

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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