Special Report

The Best (and Worst) Countries to Grow Old In

7. Jordan
> Total population: 6.7 million
> Pct. population aged 60+: 5.4% (51st lowest)
> GDP per capita: $5,267 (75th lowest)
> Life expectancy at 60: 19 (tied-82nd lowest)

Most older Jordanians either have strong family ties or find financial help from the government. Seventy-two percent of people over 50 said they could rely on at least one person if they were in trouble. And more than 42% of 65 and older residents received a pension, one of the better rates compared to other countries on this list. Despite these strengths, the vast majority of Jordan’s older population was financially dependent on others. Just 22.1% of 55-64 year-olds were employed, lower than in most countries. Also, just 21% of the population over 60 had at least a secondary education, far worse than in many nations. Overall, Jordan received one of the worst scores for enabling residents to live capably on their own.

6. Pakistan 
> Total population: 186.3 million
> Pct. population aged 60+: 6.5% (66th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $2,348 (45th lowest)
> Life expectancy at 60: 17 (tied-36th lowest)

Like several of the worst countries to grow old, Pakistan is part of a politically unstable region. In addition, the capital has been the site of ongoing protests in recent years, and the country struggles to control regular flooding disasters. Despite the turmoil, older Pakistanis enjoy one of the lowest poverty rates in the world, with just 1.8% of residents over 60 living in poverty. Many older Pakistani residents do not feel socially connected, however, as just 60% of people over 50 said they someone they could count on when in trouble. And a minority of majority of older residents did not feel independent or satisfied with their freedom of choice.

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5. The United Republic of Tanzania
> Total population: 47.7 million
> Pct. population aged 60+: 4.9% (36th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $1,331 (24th lowest)
> Life expectancy at 60: 18 (tied-63th lowest)

While nearly 93% of 55-64 year old Tanzanian residents were employed — the second highest rate worldwide– many of these jobs were likely low-skilled. Just 3.1% of country residents over 60 had completed at least a secondary education, one of the lowest attainment rates in the world. Further, less than 40% of residents over 50 were satisfied with the country’s public transportation options, worse than in the vast majority of nations worldwides. Like many countries in the region, Tanzania is quite poor, with a GDP per capita of just $1,331, one of the lowest in the world. Despite poor economic output, Tanzania has managed to avoid violent internal turmoil that is often common in African and Middle-Eastern nations.