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Views and Experiences with End-of-Life Medical Care in Japan, Italy, the United States, and Brazil: A Cross-Country Survey

In partnership with The Economist, the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a cross-country survey of adults in Japan, Italy, the United States, and Brazil about people’s views and experiences related to aging and end-of-life medical care. These four countries are each at a different stage of population aging. On one end of the spectrum, Japan is the world’s oldest country (27 percent are ages 65 and older) and has the longest life expectancy along with a shrinking overall population . Italy is not far behind, with a population that is 21 percent elderly, the largest proportion among European nations . The United States is in the middle of the aging trajectory, with the share of the population ages 65 and older expected to grow from about 15 percent in 2015 to 24 percent by 2060 . At the other end of the spectrum, Brazil has a relatively young population today, but due to recent changes in mortality and fertility, the share of the population that is elderly is expected to double (from 7 percent to 14 percent) by 2031. These four countries also reflect different cultural and institutional considerations when it comes to preparing and providing care for those near the end of life, and both the demographic and cultural differences are reflected in the survey results reported here.

This report summarizes the overall survey results with comparisons across the four countries, and includes sections highlighting particular findings in Japan, Italy, and Brazil. A separate report with more detail on the U.S. results is available here.

Coverage from The Economist

What people want in their final months

Mending Mortality

What people want at the end of life

Summary

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.