Ah, Norway — the best country to work in, a place so sustainable that residents can’t make enough garbage, and let's not forget it's the birthplace of the slow TV — can now add another feather to its coveted cap. According to a new index ranking all things aging, Norway brings home the gold as the best place to grow old based on income security, health, personal capability and whether the person lives in an "enabling environment."
The 2014 Global AgeWatch Index ranked 96 countries, which accounts for 91 percent of people over 60 across the globe. Using data sets from the United Nations, the World Bank, World Health Organization, International Labour Organization, UNESCO and the Gallup World Poll, the index reveals that there are currently 868 million people over the age of 60 – nearly 12 percent of the global population. By 2050, that number is predicted to be 21 percent.
We are living longer, but in low- and middle-income countries, only one in four people over 65 receives a pension. Countries hovering near the bottom of the list are deficient in programs for free health care and chronic disease treatment, community centers and subsidized transport.
“The unprecedented rate and speed of population ageing presents policy makers with a challenge,” said Toby Porter, chief executive of HelpAge International, in a press release. “Only if they act now will they have a chance to meet the needs of their citizens and keep their economies going.”
So what’s Norway doing that makes it the top spot for the golden years? The index authors note that it ranks consistently high across all domains, including first for income security with the highest GDP per capita in its region. It also ranks first in the “capability domain,” with an employment rate among older people that is about 15 percentage points above the regional average, indicating economic empowerment. It has the highest rate of educational attainment among older people, and ranks well for safety and civic freedom.
Coming in at number eight, the United States performs well in the capability domain and has a high rate of educational attainment. The data shows that it ranks well in the enabling environment domain, but slightly below average on the civic freedom indicator. And while the U.S. ranks above average on matters of safety, social connectedness and satisfaction with public transport, it doesn't do as well for old age poverty rates, life expectancy and healthy life expectancy at 60.
Here are the top 10 countries:
8. United States
10. New Zealand
Rounding out the bottom of the list are Tanzania, Malawi, West Bank and Gaza, Mozambique and the worst place to grow old, Afghanistan.
You can see the full report here: 2014 Global AgeWatch Index.
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