Information Bulletin No.19

Japan's Average Life Expectancy Remains Highest in World

July 21, 1995

The average life expectancy of the Japanese remains the highest in the world, reaching new records of 82.98 years for women and 76.57 years for men in 1994. These statistics mean that Japanese women have now held the world's longest life expectancy for 10 consecutive years since 1985 and Japanese men for nine consecutive years since 1986. Japanese life expectancy is expected to continue to grow longer as medical treatment makes further advances.

The average life expectancy indicates how many years a new-born baby can expect to live, assuming that the death rate for the year remains unchanged in the future. According to the statistics, the average life expectancy in Japan in 1994 showed an increase over the previous year of 0.47 years for women and 0.32 years for men. In 1947 the average life expectancy stood at 53.96 years for women and 50.06 years for men, so the figures have increased over almost half a century by 29.02 years for women and 26.51 years for men.

The difference in life expectancy between women and men increased by 0.15 years over the previous year to reach 6.41 years in 1994, the highest ever. Furthermore, the ratio of female babies born in 1994 who can expect to live until 80 years of age exceeded 70% for the first time to reach 70.6%; the ratio that can expect to live until 65 reached 91.9%. The corresponding figures for men were 48.9% and 83.4%, respectively, both the highest ever.

Other countries with high average life expectancies are, for women, France (80.94 years), Switzerland (80.9 years), and Iceland (80.89 years), and for men, Iceland (75.74 years) and Sweden (75.35 years).

Reference: Ministry of Health and Welfare, Kan'i seimei hyo (Abridged Life Table), 1994.

Average Life Expectancy of Japanese

Source: Ministry of Health and Welfare
Note: Figures prior to 1975 exclude Okinawa Prefecture.

(The above article, edited by Japan Echo Inc., is based on domestic Japanese news sources. It is offered for reference purposes and does not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.)