Taipei, May 25 (CNA) Just over two-thirds of the people who died in Taiwan in 2011 were aged 65 or over, up considerably from 30 years ago, according to a report released Friday by the Department of Health.
Senior citizens accounted for 68.5 percent of all deaths last year, compared with 46.9 percent in 1981, mainly because of the country's growing aging population and increasing life expectancy, the department said in a statement.
The leading cause of death among the elderly was cancer (24.3 percent), followed by heart disease (12.2 percent), cerebrovascular disease (8.1 percent) and pneumonia (7.8 percent).
Compared with 2010, there were more cases of senior citizens dying last year from chronic respiratory tract diseases, hypertension, diabetes, cerebrovascular disease, heart disease and kidney disease, the statement said.
One percent of the 152,030 deaths that occurred in Taiwan in 2011 were due to natural aging, it added.
Chan Ding-cheng, a doctor at National Taiwan University Hospital, said it was no surprise that around 70 percent of the people who died last year were senior citizens, considering Taiwan's population structure and its life expectancy of 78 years old.
(By Nancy Liu)