One in five Okinawans is over 65 years old
According to Okinawa Prefecture Elderly Care and Nursing Division, 19.2% of the population in Okinawa was over 65 years old, as of Oct. 1, 2015. The rate is the lowest among all the prefectures in Japan, although the portion of elderly residents has increased every year.
Within Okinawa, Tonaki Village has the highest rate of the elderly, 39.8%, which means two in five are over 65. The number of people above 100 years of age was 939 as of Sep. 15, 2015, which is 23 less than the previous year, and the 15th largest in Japan. This year the number is certain to increase, and likely to exceed 1,000 for the first time since the 1972 reversion.
The growth of the aging population in Okinawa is moderate, compared to the national average of 26.7%, because of the high birth rate in the prefecture, as well as the many young people who move to Okinawa from other areas. However, the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research has estimated that the portion of the people over 65 will likely exceed 30% in 25 years.
Currently, the number of senior citizens living alone is increasing remarkably, being more than 71,000 in 2015, which was 11.5% of all households.
The rate of aging population among all five major districts of Okinawa is the highest in Miyako at 23.7%. 22.8% of residents in the northern part of the main island are over 65, while 19.0% of Yaeyama residents, 18.9% of people in the south and 18.4% in the middle part are over 65.
By municipality, Aguni Village was second to Tonaki at 34.7%, and in Ogimi Village the rate was 32.6%.
Haebaru Town has the smallest portion of elderly residents at 15.7%. Tomigusuku City has 15.9%, and Urasoe City 16.7%. These cities seem to be popular among young people as commuter towns.