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Global ageing

Wande Gibe, 90, from Tanzania has benefited from a programme focusing on community interventions to prevent witchcraft allegations and violent attacks against older women.

  • Today, 962 million people are over 60. [1]
  • 62% of people over 60 live in developing countries; by 2050 this number will have risen to 80% [2]
  • Over the last half century, life expectancy at birth has increased by almost 20 years. [3]
  • It is estimated that by 2050 there will be over 2 billion people aged 60 and over, more than twice the number measured in 2000. Almost 400 million of them will be aged 80+ [4]
  • 80% of older people in developing countries have no regular income [5]
  • Only 1 in 4 older people in low-and-middle income countries receive a pension. [6]
  • 26 million older people are affected by natural disasters every year. [7]
  • The prevalence of disability among persons under 18 years is 5.8%; among 65 to 74 years old, the rate increases to 44.6%; the rate climbs to 84.2% among people aged 85 and over. [8]
  • Nearly two-thirds of the 44.4 million people with dementia live in low and middle-income countries. [9]


  1. UN, Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division; World Population Prospects, key findings & advance tables; 2017 revision
  2. World Bank; Old Age Security and Social Pensions; page 2
  3. UNDESA World Population Ageing; 1950 – 2050; chapter 1: Demographic determinants of population ageing; page 6.
  4. World Health Organization; 10 facts on ageing and the lifecourse (2012); pop up box pages 1, 2, and 3.
  5. World Health Organization; Older persons in emergencies: considerations for action and policy development; page 11.
  6. Global AgeWatch Index 2014, Insight Report’, HelpAge International, 2014.
  7. Cambridge Scholars; Rebuilding Sustainable Communities with Vulnerable Populations after the Cameras Have Gone; page XXI.
  8. CODI; Age, Sex, Disability.
  9. Alzheimer’s Disease International; Dementia statistics.

Coronavirus Appeal

Older people in the poorest parts of the world affected by conflict or living in refugee camps need help urgently to survive the silent threat of COVID-19.

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Last updated: Sep 23 2020

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