World’s Older Population Grows Dramatically

The world’s older population continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. Today, 8.5 percent of people worldwide (617 million) are aged 65 and over. According to a new report, “An Aging World: 2015,” this percentage is projected to jump to nearly 17 percent of the world’s population by 2050 (1.6 billion).

“An Aging World: 2015” was commissioned by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, and produced by the U.S. Census Bureau. The report examines the demographic, health and socioeconomic trends accompanying the growth of the aging population.

“Older people are a rapidly growing proportion of the world’s population,” said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes.

Some of the report’s highlights:

• America’s 65-and-over population is projected to nearly double over the next three decades, from 48 million to 88 million by 2050.

• By 2050, global life expectancy at birth is projected to increase by almost eight years, climbing from 68.6 years in 2015 to 76.2 years in 2050.

• The global population of the “oldest old”— people aged 80 and older — is expected to more than triple between 2015 and 2050, growing from 126.5 million to 446.6 million. The oldest old population in some Asian and Latin American countries is predicted to quadruple by 2050.

• Among the older population worldwide, noncommunicable diseases are the main health concern. In low-income countries, many in Africa, the older population faces a considerable burden from both noncommunicable and communicable diseases.

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