Global Aging: A Little Look Around the World

Just out of curiosity, I recently sat down to do some research about how the world population is aging. I was interested in how other areas of the world are aging. Are the factors driving the aging population growth in the U.S. true in other countries as well? Here is a little bit of what I found.


There are excellent resources through the United Nations Population Division. As recently as late 2014, they published updated statistics that tell the global aging story. It was all very interesting.


For instance, during the years 2005 – 2010, the rate of death of persons 65 years and older was 50% per 100 total deaths. This was a significant change from the period 1950 – 1955. During that five year period, the rate of death among persons 65 and older was 22% per 100 deaths (all ages).


On first glance these numbers might seem incorrect, but there is a logical explanation. The increase in older age deaths was due to the reduction of child-age deaths, which had a worldwide reduction of 26%. There were some exceptions though – the least developed countries, where the percentage of mid-age deaths increased from 34% in 1950 – 1955, to 40% in 2005 – 2010.


The percentage of old-age deaths differs considerably from the countries with the highest percentage, to those with the lowest percentage: The three highest were Italy (86%), Sweden (86%) and Greece (85%). The three lowest were the Democratic Republic of the Congo (13%), Chad (12%), and Angola (11%). This again would be explained by longevity in the population in countries like Italy, Sweden and Greece.


Globally, the percentage of the population aged 60 years or over increased from 8.6% in 1980 to 12% in 2014. This group is projected to continue to rise, reaching 21% in 2050.