Elderly Population in East Asia

Which areas in East Asia have the largest share of people aged 65 and over?


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Map of the elderly population in East Asia.

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Europe is often considered the fastest ageing area in the world. We looked at the population over 65 in Europe before. But there is another area of the world that is ageing as fast, if not faster: East Asia. The fact that the differences between countries in East Asia is also quite large, makes it quite an interesting map.

What stands out first, is how old Japan is. In every prefecture of Japan except Tokyo and Okinawa, more than 25% of the population is over 65. Okinawa has the lowest share of elderly people in Japan (22.6%), which is still one of the highest in East Asia. Akita has the highest share of elderly people (37.6%) in East Asia. Which is slightly higher than the oldest area in Europe, Evrytania in Greece (37.4%).

Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan also have a decent elderly population and both would easily fit in with the rest of Europe, especially South Korea.

Mongolia would be the odd one out in this case. Because it is less developed than other East Asian countries, it also has a lower share of elderly people. Mongolia has a lower share of elderly people than any country in Europe.

China is also a bit of an odd one. It would easily fit in with other European countries, but is a lot less developed. China is one of the fastest ageing countries, of not the fastest ageing, in the world. Combined with an extremely low fertility rate, China will soon be up there with the oldest countries in the world.

The area with the largest elderly population in China, is Nantong (22.7%). North-eastern China, the areas around the Yangtze River and Easter Sichuan, also have a very high share of elderly people. Over 15 or even 20 percent in these areas. The lowest rates in China can be found in the western provinces of Xinjiang, Tibet and Qinghai. The Pearl River Delta also has one of the lowest shares of elderly people in China.

Note: The original map had an error on it regarding data for Japan. The prefecture in Japan with the highest share of people aged 65 and over is not Wakayama, but Akita. Furthermore, there were also several prefectures on the map where the share of people aged 65 and over was shown as being between 20.1% and 25.0%. This is not correct, as Tokyo and Okinawa prefecture are the only prefectures in Japan where the share of people aged 65 and over is not over 25%.

This error was caused by using raw census data for the calculations, which included people who didn’t specify their age in the total. This resulted in a lower share all-around. I’ve then corrected the map after finding the data on the share of people aged 65 and over from the Statistics Bureau of Japan. I’ve also double-checked the data for other countries on this map and also the prefecture data for Japan in previous maps. Fortunately, all of the other data is correct.

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