Global Age Watch Index 2015, London, 2015, ch 8 Western Europe, North America and Australasia

Research output: Book / ReportReportProfessional


The world’s population is ageing. As fertility declines
and life expectancy increases, the proportion of
people aged 60 and over is projected to grow in all
regions of the world. Yet people’s experiences of later
life vary enormously depending on where they live.
The Global AgeWatch Index assesses the factors
determining the social and economic wellbeing of
older people around the world. As well as global
analysis, this year we are focusing on the regions,
hearing from older people themselves and looking
at the widely varying geographic trends.
As we publish, heads of state are convening at the
United Nations to agree a universal set of Sustainable
Development Goals. These aim to end poverty,
delivering prosperity and peace to people of all ages
across the world.
The Index responds to core issues of concern to older
people and is a framework for governments and the
international community to develop and implement
policy and programmes to ensure no older person is
left behind. Using the latest available internationally
comparable data, it ranks 96 countries, covering
91 per cent of the world’s population aged 60 and over.
(West Bank and Gaza, Pakistan and Afghanistan), which
negatively impacts on nearly every indicator in the Index.1
With nearly 24 per cent of its population over 60,
Switzerland has a range of policies and programmes
on active ageing, promoting capability, health and the
enabling environment for older people.2
At the other end
of the scale, Afghanistan, with 4 per cent of its population
aged 60 and over, has few local or national policies to
promote the wellbeing of older people.3
Between these extremes, countries perform best when
they take a comprehensive approach by investing in
pensions, access to healthcare and supporting the social
inclusion of older people.
Why measure wellbeing in old age?
Growing older is an experience we all share. Today’s over
60s are the world’s fastest growing population group,
profoundly affecting our economies, living arrangements,
and personal and professional aspirations.
Although it is not always recognised as such, global
population ageing is the great success story of human
development, resulting as it does from falling birth rates
and longer lives. However, not all governments have yet
put the policy frameworks in place to respond to the
challenges posed by the ageing of their populations.
The Index compares countries, highlighting good practice
and areas for improvement as well as the gaps in data.
Global results
This year, Switzerland (1) is at the top, while Afghanistan
(96) remains at the bottom. As in 2013 and 2014, the top
19 places are taken by industrialised nations. Africa
is overrepresented at the bottom, with countries from the
region occupying seven of the 10 lowest places.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherHelp Age International
Commissioning bodyHelp Age International
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9781910743003
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameGlobal Age Watch Index


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