Ireland 15th best place for older people

Switzerland tops list of 96 countries
  • Deborah Condon

Ireland is the 15th best place in the world for older people to live, with Switzerland coming in at the top of the list.

The Global AgeWatch Index was compiled by HelpAge International and the University of Southampton. It assessed the social and economic wellbeing of older people living in 96 countries around the world.

This represents 901 million people, or 91% of the world's population who are aged 60 or older.

Four key areas were assessed - health, education, income and employment.

Switzerland came first, followed by Norway, Sweden, Germany and Canada. The US was 9th, the UK was 10th and Ireland was 15th.

Afghanistan came in last, ahead of Malawi (95th), Mozambique (94th) and West Bank & Gaza (93rd).

"This Index is vital in representing the lives of older people in countries around the world as it enables us to compare not just their pension income and health, but also the age-friendly environments in which they live," commented lead developer of the index, Prof Asghar Zaidi, of the University of Southampton.

The index noted that gender discrimination combined with inequality in older age can have a major impact on women. Around the world, 46% of women aged between 55 and 64 are economically active, compared to over 73% of men. As women often earn less, opportunities to save for later in life are limited. This increases the risk of poverty among older women.

Meanwhile, the index also highlighted the fact that the number of older people globally is growing. This year, just over 12% of the world's population is aged 60 or older. By 2030, this figure is expected to reach 16.5% and by 2050, 21.5%.


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