The Best (and Worst) Countries to Grow Old

Print Email

5. Canada
> Total population:
35.5 million
> Pct. population aged 60+: 22.3%
> GNI per capita: $40,799
> Life expectancy at 60: 25

Canada is one of the best countries in the world for the elderly. While just more than 22% of Canada’s population are 60 or older, the share is projected to spike by more than 10 percentage points to 32.4% by 2050. Those in the country aged 60 or over typically live to be 85, the second longest life expectancy of any country in the world.

Canada’s elderly population is also generally financially secure. Nearly 98% of the Canadian population over the age of 64 receives a pension. Also, only 6.8% of Canadians aged 60 and older live in poverty, a relatively small share compared to other countries.

4. Germany
> Total population:
81.1 million
> Pct. population aged 60+: 27.6%
> GNI per capita: $44,401
> Life expectancy at 60: 24

As one of the best countries in the world for old people, Germany is home to a rapidly aging population. While just over 22% of Germans are 60 and older, by 2050, nearly 40% of the German population is projected to be aged 60 and over. Although a larger elderly population may present an economic burden, it is also indicative of a healthy population.

Germany’s elderly residents are generally in good health both financially and physically. As is the case in many of the best countries for the elderly, all Germans 65 and older receive a pension. Additionally, a 60-year old German can reasonably expect to have roughly 18 more healthy years of life, a longer life expectancy than in all but a handful of other countries.

ALSO READ: America’s Richest (and Poorest) States

3. Sweden
> Total population:
9.7 million
> Pct. population aged 60+: 25.5%
> GNI per capita: $45,127
> Life expectancy at 60: 24

More than one-fourth of the Swedish population is 60 and older, one of the highest shares worldwide. Countries with large elderly populations generally have favorable conditions for aging. All Swedish citizens over 65 receive pension income, and only 5.3% of those 60 and older live below the poverty line compared to 18.8% in the United States. The Swedish elderly are among the healthiest in the world and can expect to live for 24 years after the age of 60, the third longest old-age life expectancy across the globe.

2. Norway
> Total population:
5.2 million
> Pct. population aged 60+: 21.8%
> GNI per capita: $64,241
> Life expectancy at 60: 24

As in other Scandinavian nations, Norway is one of the best countries for the elderly. People who live to age 60 in Norway are likely to live 24 additional years, one year longer than Americans who live to be 60. The country’s elderly residents also perceive Norway to be an especially safe place. Of the nation’s residents 50 and over, 86% said they feel safe walking in their neighborhood at night, a higher share than in all but two other countries.

Elderly people in Norway are also among the most financially secure of any other elderly population in the world. Only 1.8% of the people aged 60 and older lived in poverty, a smaller share than in all but two other countries. As is the case in most of the best countries for old people, all of Norway’s population over the age of 64 receive a pension.

ALSO READ: The Healthiest City in Every State

1. Switzerland
> Total population:
8.1 million
> Pct. population aged 60+: 23.6%
> GNI per capita: $54,762
> Life expectancy at 60: 25

After turning 60-years old, the average Swiss citizen can expect to live 25 additional years, and 19 of these in good health. Only Japan has better old-age life expectancies than Switzerland. Like most of the best countries for growing old, all citizens 65 and older in Switzerland receive a pension. An enabling environment is important for elderly residents’ quality of life, and when asked about various aspects of their environment, citizens 50 and over responded positively. About 83% of respondents reported they were satisfied with the country’s public transit system, the second best percentage of any country. In another survey, 93% of respondents claimed to be satisfied with the freedom in their lives, one of the highest percentages in the world. By 2050, more than a third of Switzerland’s population will be 60 and older.

Click here to see the worst countries in which to grow old.