HelpAge International recently released its Global AgeWatch Index, an index that provides the public with comparisons of how policy makers in various nations are implementing policies that with the quality of life for their aging populations. This information is particularly pertinent given that by 2030 there will be more people over the age of 60 than there are under the age of 10. In the report there is data for 96 nations which comprise around 91 percent of the world's population aged 60 years and older.
The index is composed of the following domains and indicators:
Income security measures people's access to a sufficient amount of income to meet their needs as they get older. Health status measures the physical and psychological well-being of those over 60 years of age. Capability measures both employment and educational facets of older people. Enabling environment measures older people's perception of connection to the wider society, their physical safety, their access to public transportation and their civic freedom, all measures that are key to older people.
Here is a map of the world showing the index rating for each nation in the study with the green nations having a higher ranking and the red nations having a lower ranking, noting that the countries in grey were not ranked:
The highest scoring nations are found in North America, Western Europe, the South Pacific and Japan. The lower scoring nations are found in South America, Asia and Africa.
Here is a screen capture showing the overall rankings:
It is interesting to see Canada come in fourth place, the United States coming in 8th place, the United Kingdom coming in 11th place and Australia coming in 13th place. Not terribly surprising, Afghanistan, Mozambique and the West Bank and Gaza trail the pack. Looking at the world's two most populous nations, China is right in the middle of the group in 48th place and India is in 69th place.
Here is a comparison of the overall index scores for Western Europe, North American and the South Pacific plus Japan:
Here is a comparison of the scores for capability for Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States with a score of 100 being ideal:
The United Kingdom is lagging when it comes to employment and education opportunities for the elderly.
Here is a comparison of scores for each of the four nations as listed above for the enabling environment domain:
All four nations score relatively well and are more-or-less equal on this domain.
Here is a comparison of the scores for each of the four nations for the health status domain:
Canada and its socialized health care system score quite well on this domain.
Finally, here is a comparison of the scores for each of the four nations for the income security domain:
Australia badly lags its peers when it comes to income security for older persons with a poor score of only 52.2 compared to 83.2 for Canada and 82.7 for the United Kingdom.
Now, let's compare the scores for these four nations to the top scoring nation, Norway:
...and to the lowest scoring nation, Afghanistan:
Let's close this posting with this map that shows us what portion of the population that will be 60 years and older in 2050:
As we can see, it will become critical for governments around the world to provide increasing levels of care for their older citizens in the coming decades. This is particularly the case for North America, Europe, Japan and China who will all have more than 30 percent of their total citizens over the age of 60.