Consumer Affairs Agency, Government Of Japan
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White Paper on Consumer Affairs 2013 [Summary]

Part 1 Today’s consumer issues and consumers’ behavior/attitude

Chapter 2 【Feature】 Consumer problems faced by the elderly

Section 1 Socioeconomic situation of the elderly

Anxiety about money: Elderly people have much money in savings but earn less

The elderly are said to worry about three things in general: money, loneliness and health.

The average household savings in 2012 were largest for households with their heads in their sixties, at ¥22.49 million, and the amount was smaller for age groups before and after that peak. The annual household income was highest for households with their heads in their fifties, at ¥8.16 million, and the amount was smaller before and after that peak. Debts peaked for household with their heads in their forties, ¥9.78 million, and were lower for younger and older generations.

Figure 2-1-2 Households with older heads have much money in savings but earn less

Anxiety about loneliness: Single men and older people living in large cities are more likely to have no one to rely on when in trouble

Among elderly men living alone, 20% said they had no one to rely on when in trouble. The breakdown of the elderly by size of the city of residence shows that 5.0% of those living in large cities had no one to rely on when in trouble. These results indicate single elderly males and older people living in urban areas are more likely to be left in trouble alone.

Figure 2-1-7 Elderly men living alone are more likely to have no one to rely on when in trouble

Figure 2-1-8 Elderly people living in large cities are more likely to have no one to rely on when in trouble

Anxiety about health: Elderly people put priority on expenditures on wellness and medical/nursing care

A survey on elderly people’s consumption behavior indicates that 42.8% put priority on “expenditures on wellness and medical/nursing care” when spending money. This suggests that the elderly are highly conscious of health in consumption behavior.

Figure 2-1-9 Elderly people put priority on health-related spending

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