Graduate Student Forum

Loneliness at Older Ages in Japan: Variation in Lonely Life Expectancy and the Role of Social Isolation

Tuesday, 7 December 2021 | 9:00 - 9:45 (JST)
Zoom Meeting
  • Shiro Furuya Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Sawako Shirahase TCJS Director
Event Description

Despite growing media, policy, and research attention to loneliness, it remains an understudied dimension of social inequality. Additionally, research on loneliness often fails to distinguish loneliness from social isolation. This is an important limitation given the positive correlation between measures of these two distinct concepts, a relationship that may be particularly salient in collectivistic societies, like Japan. Combining life tables from the Human Mortality Database with individual data from the National Survey of Japanese Elderly, we calculated isolation-adjusted lonely life expectancies (LLE) by sex and educational attainment. Results showed notable differences in LLE before and after adjusting for social isolation; however, accounting for social isolation did little to alter our general understanding of trends and differentials in LLE. We also found that LLE is short among older Japanese and has not increased over time. Additionally, we found no clear educational differences in isolation-adjusted LLE.

About the Speaker

Shiro Furuya is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an affiliate of the Center for Demography and Ecology and the Center for Demography of Health and Aging. His research interests broadly lie in health, demography, and social genomics. Before attending the Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he worked for three years as a software engineer specialized in the medical industry at Fujitsu Ltd. He is a recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship.