Today, 703 million people in the world are aged 65 or older. By 2050 – or just 31 years from now, that number is projected to increase to a staggering 1.5 billion, according to the World Population Ageing 2019 Highlights recently released by UN DESA’s Population Division.
The report predicts that by the mid-point of this century, one in every six people in the world will be over the age 65, up from one in every 11 today. The number of people aged 80 or over is expected to grow even faster, tripling by 2050. Average global life expectancy at age 65 will have increased by 19 years by 2050.
All societies in the world are in the midst of this longevity revolution – some are at its earlier stages and some are more advanced. But all will pass through this extraordinary transition, in which the chance of surviving to age 65 rises from less than 50 per cent – as was the case in Sweden in the 1890s – to more than 90 per cent at present in countries with the highest life expectancy. The proportion of adult life spent beyond the age of 65 increased from less than a fifth in the 1960s to a quarter or more in most developed countries today.
UN DESA’s Population Division published the World Population Ageing 2019 Highlights on 10 October, as part of the celebration of the International Day of Older Persons at the UN Headquarters in New York. The World Population Ageing Highlights 2019 presents the key findings of a larger and more comprehensive report on the same topic that will become available later this year.
The Highlights conclude with a set of evidence-based policy recommendations to promote the well-being of the growing number of older persons around the world in our collective efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).