Successful Aging in East Asia : Comparison among China, Korea, and Japan

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
Journal / PublicationJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Publication statusOnline published - 23 Apr 2020


Objectives. Heterogeneity in successful aging has been found across countries. Yet, comparable evidence is sparse except in North America and Europe. Extending prior research, this study examined the prevalence and correlates of successful aging in East Asian: China, Korea, and Japan. Method. We used harmonized datasets from national surveys. A total of 6,479 participants (aged between 65 and 75) were analyzed. Using Rowe and Kahn’s (1987, 1997) model, successful aging was defined as having no major diseases, no difficulty performing activities of daily living, obtaining a median or higher score on tests of cognitive function, and being actively engaged. Results. The average prevalence of successful agers was 17.6%. There were variations in the global and specific measures of successful aging within and across countries, even after controlling for individual sociodemographic factors (age, gender, and education). The odds of aging successfully was highest in Japan and lowest in China, especially in the rural areas. Being younger and males were associated with a higher likelihood of successful agers in both global and specific measures. Discussion. This study observed heterogeneity in successful aging in East Asia. To identify policy implications, future research should explore potential societal factors influencing individuals’ opportunities for successful aging.

Research Area(s)

  • Cross-national comparisons, healthy aging, CHARLS, KLoSA, JSTAR