Japanese longevity continues to grow


Tokyo: Japanese people are living longer than ever, with the average life expectancy now 86.05 years for women and 79.29 years for men, the country’s health ministry has revealed.

The life expectancy of Japanese women increased by almost 22 days in 2008 from the previous year, while men added another 37 days, the ministry said.

The longevity of the Japanese is attributed in part to a healthy traditional diet including fish and vegetables and an active lifestyle.

But longevity is causing economic problems for Japan, which has one of the world’s lowest birth rates, leaving a shrinking working population to support a mass of retirees.

World’s population getting older


Vienna: The world’s population is growing older as people live longer, and fertility and birth rates fall.

A study, published online by Nature, carried out by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis at Laxenburg, Austria, examined population forecasts and fertility rates in 13 major regions of the planet.

The future paths of population ageing result from specific combinations of declining fertility and increasing life expectancies in different parts of the world, it says.

The “speed of ageing is likely to increase over the coming decades and to decelerate in most regions by mid century”.

The study found the overall average of the world’s population will increase from 26.6 years in 2000 to 31.1 in 2050 and then to just 32.9 in 2100, slightly less than what it was in China in 2005, owing to large differences in the regional patterns of ageing.

The researchers say the probability that world population growth will end in this century is 88 per cent, somewhat higher than previously believed. After mid century, lower rates of population growth are likely to coincide with slower rates of ageing.

By the middle of the century, the average Briton will be 48.4 years old, against 39.1 years old now.

But by 2100, the rate of increase will have slowed, with the average age rising to 53.5 years.By the middle of the century it is likely that a third of the population in Britain will be over 60 thanks to people living longer coupled with falling fertility rates

They found that by the middle of the century there is an 82 per cent chance that a third of the population in Britain will be over 60 thanks to people living longer coupled with falling fertility rates, compared with 98 per cent in Japan/Oceania and close to zero per cent for sub-Saharan Africa.