Japan Data

Japan’s Senior Population Falls for the First Time on Record

Society Health

In Japan’s graying society, seniors aged 65 or over account for a growing proportion of the overall population, but even this demographic group has started to decrease, with a decline of 10,000 in 2023.

The number of seniors in Japan, aged 65 or over, as of September 15, 2023, stood at 36.2 million, according to data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. This was a year-on-year fall of 10,000, the first such decline since comparable data became available in 1950. Overall, though, the ratio of seniors within the total population increased by 0.1 percentage points to 29.1%, making it the highest on record.

Japan’s Population by Age Group

Senior population statistics show that there were 20.5 million women (32.1% of the total population) and 15.7 million men (26.0%), meaning women exceeded men by 4.8 million.

The population of those in their seventies and over rose by 200,000 to 28.9 million, a 0.2-point increase from the previous year to 23.2%. This equates to one in four women and one in five men who are 70 or over.

The number of seniors aged 75 and over increased by 720,000 to 20.1 million, the first time the figure has exceeded 20 million. This sector of the population was 16.1%, a year-on-year 0.6-percentage point increase. As of 2022, the substantial cohort of Japanese baby boomers (born between 1947 and 1949) began reaching the age of 75 and is growing significantly.

According to United Nations data, Japan’s senior population ratio (the ratio of people aged 65 and over) of 29.1% puts it well ahead of Italy, in second place with 24.5%.

Countries with the Highest Percentage of Seniors

Country Total Population (million people) Population 65 and Over (million people (%))
Japan 124.4 36.2 (29.1%)
Italy 58.9 14.4 (24.5%)
Finland 5.6 1.3 (23.6%)
Martinique 0.4 0.1 (23.5%)
Puerto Rico 3.3 0.8 (23.4%)
Portugal 10.3 2.4 (23.3%)
Greece 10.3 2.4 (23.1%)
Croatia 4.0 0.9 (22.7%)
Germany 83.3 19.0 (22.7%)
Bulgaria 6.7 1.5 (22.3%)

Created by Nippon.com based on data from the Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Japan’s value is based on population estimates as of September 15, 2023. Values for other countries are based on future estimates for July 1, 2023, from the United Nations’ 2023 revision of World Population Prospects.

Senior Population Ratios in Selected Countries

(Translated from Japanese. Banner Photo © Pixta.)

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