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Research: Number of Older Adults Increasing Globally

With an aging population, the world is seeing an important demographic shift that will have significant ramifications for health and social systems.

The World Health Organization reports that:

  • In 2020, the number of people 60 and older outnumbered children younger than five years. 

  • By 2030, one in six people internationally will be at least 60 years old—and the share of the population who are 60 and older will increase from 1 billion in 2020 to 1.4 billion.

  • Between 2015-2050, the proportion of the world’s population over the age of 60 will nearly double from 12% to 22%, while the number of persons 80 and older is expected to triple to reach 426 billion between 2020-2050.

  • By 2050, 80% of older people will live in low- and middle-income countries.

Older people’s lives will be influenced by globalization, technology, urbanization, migration, and changing gender norms. Therefore, WHO believes that a public health response needs to take stock of current and projected trends in order to frame appropriate policies. 

To that end, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2021-2030 as the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing and calls for a global collaboration bringing together governments, civil society, international agencies, professionals, academia, the media and the private sector. 

According to WHO, which is leading the implementation for this decade:

The UN Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021–2030) seeks to reduce health inequities and improve the lives of older people, their families and communities through collective action in four areas: changing how we think, feel and act towards age and ageism; developing communities in ways that foster the abilities of older people; delivering person-centered integrated care and primary health services responsive to older people; and providing older people who need it with access to quality long-term care.

I Start Wondering looks forward to building a community around this topic and being part of discussions moving forward.


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