GENEVA: Sweden is the best place to grow old and Afghanistan the worst, according to a United Nations-backed study on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) that warns many countries are ill-prepared to deal with the old age time bomb.
In a rapidly greying world, the Global AgeWatch Index—the first of its kind—found that Sweden, known for its generous welfare state, followed by Norway and Germany were best equipped to deal with the challenges of an ageing population.
How countries care for their senior citizens will become increasingly important as the number of people over the age of 60 is set to soar from some 809 million today to more than two billion by 2050—when they will account for more than one in five people on the planet, the report said.
“The 21st century is seeing an unprecedented global demographic transition, with population ageing at its heart,” the authors of the study said.
The survey ranked many African and South Asian countries as the worst places to be retired, with Tanzania, Pakistan and Afghanistan rounding out the bottom three.
The index was compiled by the HelpAge International advocacy group and the UN Population Fund in a bid to provide much-needed data on ageing populations worldwide.
It ranked the social and economic well-being of the elderly in 91 countries, by comparing data from the World Health Organization and other global agencies on older people’s incomes, health, education, employment and their environments.
The Top 10: 1. Sweden, 2. Norway, 3. Germany, 4. the Netherlands, 5. Canada, 6. Switzerland, 7. New Zealand, 8. USA, 9. Iceland and 10. Japan.