TOKYO >> Central Tokyo’s population of homeless people has an average age of over 65 for the first time since a metropolitan government survey began in 2003.
In late April the government released the results of its latest survey on homeless people in Tokyo’s 23 wards, held in November. The survey is usually conducted every five years.
The average age of the 320 people surveyed was 65.1, 1.2 years older than the average from the 2016 survey.
More than 43% of those surveyed in 2021 had been living on the streets for more than 10 years.
Almost 40% said their health was “not good” or “not so good,” and about 64% of those people were not using health care, such as medication.
About 40% said they worked before becoming homeless as a “construction or mining worker,” and about 20% cited “bankruptcy or loss of employment” as the reason for their homelessness.
About half of the people surveyed said they had income from work. Overall, the average monthly income of respondents was $415.55.
Asked about the future, about half of them said they were “fine the way things are.”
“Elderly people who have long been on the streets have gotten used to the life and find it difficult to reintegrate into mainstream society,” said a government official. “We want to provide necessary support, such as having nurses go around to provide consultations.”