Hist 131/445 21st Century Demographics:

According to Kanamori Toshie's memoir, an "Aging Society" is achieved when 7% of the population is over 65 and once that proportion reaches 14%, the society can be considered an "Aged Society." This happened to Japan in 1994. Kingston estimates that 25% of Japan's population will be over 65 by 2025 and Kanamori says that this figure will rise to 35% by 2050. Startling figures!

Also startling is Kingston's figure that by 2025, 4.3% of the Japanese population will be over 85 years of age, up fivefold since 1965.


There is a Woodrow Wilson Center paper that notes:

The writing is clearly on the wall: Japan needs more tax-paying, young citizens to offset its ever-increasing number of pensioners if these retirees wish to maintain their current standards of living. The question, however, is whether there are public policies that can provide a solution to this impending crisis, and what may happen if the number of Japanese retirees continues to surge past the number of workers. See http://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/tackling-japan%E2%80%99s-demographic-time-bomb

Another source mentions that "Japan's population began falling in 2004 and is now ageing faster than any other on the planet. More than 22% of Japanese are already 65 or older. A report compiled with the government’s co-operation two years ago warned that by 2060 the number of Japanese will have fallen from 127million to about 87million, of whom almost 40% will be 65 or older. This source goes so far as to say that: "Roughly 2% of Japan’s population is foreign. And even this figure includes large numbers of permanent residents—mostly Chinese and Koreans—who have been here for generations. Tellingly, the recent story about the government’s discussion of immigration broke in the right-wing Sankei newspaper (in Japanese), which is especially unlikely to embrace the idea of a Chinese family living on every Japanese street." [Note how this paper that Kishino Junko once worked for is referred to as a right-wing newspaper!]

See: http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/03/japans-demography


How about the U.S.? People here aged 65 and older now make up 13 percent of the total population, compared with 12.4 percent in 2000 and 4.1 percent in 1900. So that would mean that the U.S., too, is very close to being considered an "Aged Society."

Another relevant statistic is the number of workers in the economy paying into Social Security to support the number of retirees which will only keep going up as the "Baby Boomers" retire. I seem to recall the statistic from when I was in college of just under 8 workers for every retiree; today there are only 2.9 workers per retiree—and this amount is expected to drop to 2 workers per retiree by 2030. Aaack!! Here are some comparative numbers going back to 1970 and projecting out to 2050:

Country 1970 2010 2050 (projected)
United States 5.3
Japan 8.5
Britain 4.3
Germany 4.1
France 4.2
Netherlands 5.3