Japan’s aging population

Based on current trends, 40% of Japan’s population will be aged 65 or older by the year 2060.

As of last October the senior population stood at 23.3%, numbering 29,750,000. [1]

So, more grandparents, less kids. What’s the problem? More gifts and love from the elderly. More cookies, more candy, home cooking, and storytelling. Who wouldn’t want that? Well, a large senior population puts strain on the health and social security systems as more people require services, but there’s a smaller number of people paying into those systems through wage deductions. There is large number of seniors that would like to continue working throughout their retirement, but there are few opportunities for them to work.

The Japanese economy has been stagnant for about two decades. Economic insecurity has led many prospective parents to delay, or decide not to have children. This trend leads to an  increasingly older population.

To those who think the world has too many people, this may be good news. It appears population levels are leveling off in educated industrialized nations, while still growing in many third world nations. In an ideal world, the trends would be even across certain nations, making for easier transitions.

Since the world isn’t ideal, there will be some difficulty as different places adjust to changing population trends. Immigration may help those countries with shrinking work forces, but this requires social adjustment of the hosts, especially if they are not used to a large immigrant population.

Tahric Finn

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1) Tokyo, AFP. Elderly people to account for 40% of Japanese in ’60: report. The China Post. June 16, 2012. p8.

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