Gender differences seen in the lives of the elderly

In 2017, the average life expectancy of Japanese people was 81.09 years for men and 87.26 years for women (Graph 1, Table 1). Because women live longer than men, they make up a larger proportion of men and women in the elderly population. Looking at the population in 2018, women account for about 60% of the elderly aged 65 and over. The proportion of women increases as the age group increases, and women account for approximately 70% of the population aged 85 and over (Graph 2, Table 2).

From a demographic perspective, there is a difference in the situation between men and women in the elderly. Let’s take a look at the situation surrounding males and females in the elderly and gender differences in employment.

male (year) female (year)
1990 75.92 81.90
1995 76.38 82.85
2000 77.72 84.60
2005 78.56 85.52
2010 79.55 86.30
2015 80.75 86.99
2016 80.98 87.14
2017 81.09 87.26
male female Total population (10,000 people)
Age class Population (10,000 people) ratio(%) Population (10,000 people) ratio(%)
65-69 years old 474 48.4% 506 51.6% 980
70-74 years old 369 46.9% 418 53.1% 787
75-79 years old 301 44.7% 373 55.3% 674
80-84 years old 217 40.8% 315 59.2% 532
85+ 170 30.8% 382 69.2% 552
65 years old or older (repeated) 1,530 43.4% 1,993 56.6% 3,523
85 years old or older (repeated) 170 30.8% 382 69.2% 552

Gender differences among the elderly living in single-person households

According to 2017 data, 47.4% of households with a person aged 65 or older are single-person households, 32.6% of all single-person households are male, and 67.4% are female. Female single-person households are more than twice as likely as male single-person households. By age group, it can be seen that there are many elderly single households for women aged 70 and over. It is estimated that the number of elderly people in single-person households will continue to increase for both men and women . The fact that there are many single-person households of elderly women also leads to the issue of nursing care (Graph 3).

Gender differences in nursing care status of the elderly

Looking at the gender difference in the main caregivers living together in 2016, men accounted for 34.0% and women for 66.0%. 70% are over 60 years old (Graph 4) 5) .

In addition, looking at the percentage of people who live together almost all day long as caregivers by gender, women, such as wives, daughters, and children’s wives, account for more than 70%. Women, such as wives, daughters, and daughters-in-law, tend to bear most of the burden of nursing care, and more than 70% of those who provide nursing care almost all day are women (Graph 5).

Graph 5: Gender difference between the main caregiver living together and the main caregiver living together “almost all day” 5)

 The data also show that the burden of nursing care on women affects the employment status of both men and women. Let’s take a look at the gender gap in the employment situation of the elderly.

Gender differences in the employment status of the elderly

In 2016, 4.62 million men and 3.08 million women were employed among the elderly in Japan, and the employment rate was 30.9% for men aged 65 and over and 15.8% for women, an increase for the past five consecutive years. doing. Compared to other major countries in the world, Japan boasts a high employment rate for the elderly. (Graph 6, Graph 7, Graph 8,

Male (10,000 people) Female (10,000 people)
2012 365 231
2013 390 247
2014 416 267
2015 443 288
2016 462 308

By age group, the percentage of employed men aged 60-64 was 79.1%, 65-69 54.8%, 70-74 34.2%, women 60-64 53.6%, 65- 34.4% of those aged 69 and 20.9% of those aged 70 to 74 continue to work beyond the age of 60. More than half of both men and women continue to work even after reaching the age of 70, with 30% of men and 20% of women still working. (Graph 9).

Type of employment and reason

In terms of employment patterns, 75.1% of elderly employees, excluding executives, are non-regular staff or employees, an increase of approximately 2.5 times over the past 10 years. The most common reason for working as a non-regular employee was “I want to work when it is convenient for me” (28.7% of men and 37.2% of women). One of the reasons that is characteristic of women is that it is easier to balance housework, childcare, nursing care, etc.6 ) (link 1).

Elderly people who want to work and elderly people who cannot find a job

Approximately 80% of the elderly want to work until they are 70 or older, or want to work as long as they can,7) (graph 10 ) . I can see that you are willing. Looking at the reasons for wanting to work by gender, the majority of both men and women chose “economic reasons,” but the proportion of “motivation/social participation” is also increasing, especially among women. The older you are, the more likely you are to say that it is good for your health8 ) (link 2).

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