Environmental Challenges in the Home for Ageing Societies: a Comparison of Sweden and Japan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Sweden and Japan are developed welfare countries facing serious societal and public health challenges due to demographic ageing. The objective of the present study was to provide a background to environmental challenges in the home, related to demographic ageing. Specific aims were to compare: 1) demography and household composition 2) physical housing stocks 3) indoor accidents and 4) housing adaptations between the two countries. Descriptive analyses were conducted using secondary data sources. Demographic ageing is projected to accelerate faster in Japan compared to Sweden, with overall lower fertility rates expected in Japan. In 2050, 39% of the Japanese population is projected to be aged 65 years or older, compared to 23% of the Swedish population. The Swedish ordinary housing stock was markedly older than the Japanese housing stock, with almost 80% of the dwellings built before 1980, while in Japan about 65% were built after 1980. High occurrences of fatal indoor accidents were noted in both countries, but for different reasons. In Sweden, falls was the dominant cause of fatal accidents among older people, while in Japan, in addition to falls, drowning and suffocation caused most of the fatal accidents. Housing adaptations were less frequent in Japan compared to Sweden, and the procedure for evaluating, granting and carrying out housing adaptations appeared to be more complicated in Japan. To decrease the occurrence of indoor accidents, identifying and removing “risk barriers” could be instrumental. In both countries, large-scale efforts are imperative to improve the housing situation for the ageing population.


External organisations
  • Dia Foundation for Research on Ageing Societies
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


  • Ageing society, Built environment, Comparative study, Housing, Older people
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-289
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch