The Global AgeWatch Index released last week lists Canada as the fourth best nation when it comes to the economic and physical well-being of senior citizens.
Calculated by London based non-profit organization HelpAge International, the Index rates 96 countries across the world, covering nine out of ten people or 91% of the world’s population above the age of 60.
Individual rankings are based on the local implementation of policies and benefits aimed at supporting people in later life, such as pensions, educational and employment opportunities, free healthcare and subsidized transport. Other indicators measured were life expectancy and the poverty levels of the senior citizen population.
This year, the Index rates Norway (1) as the best country to grow old in, while Afghanistan is ranked last (96). Apart from Japan (9), all the top 10 countries are in Western Europe, North America and Australasia. Joining Canada and Norway in the top five are Sweden (2), Switzerland (3) and Germany (5).
According to the index, Canada ranks highly in income security for seniors, with 97.7% of Canadians aged 65 and over receiving a pension, and with over 92.8% of Canadians aged 60 and over getting an income greater than half the country’s median income.
The report also lists 83.9% of Canadians aged 60 or older as having a secondary or higher level of education, which impacts positively on their working life, economic empowerment and access to the labor market, as well as on their life expectancy. The ability to supplement pension income with employment income, and continuing access to work related networks, was rated favorably for Canadian senior citizens.
According to HelpAge, about 12% of the global population – over 860 million people – are over the age of 60, a figure that is projected to rise to 21% or 2.02 billion by the year 2050. The figures are notably higher for Canada individually – currently 21.7% of Canada’s population is aged over 60, and it is estimated that 30.7% will be over the age of 60 by the year 2050.