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Global senior population set to soar
April 17, 2016, 5:20 pm

The percentage of the world's population aged 65 and older is expected to double by 2050, says a new report out from the US-based National Institute on Aging (NIA).

The more than 617 million people around the world who are aged 65 and over now make up 8.5 percent of people worldwide. By 2050, this number is expected to more than double to 1.7 billion or nearly 17 percent of the global population.

Worldwide, life expectancy is expected to rise from 68.6 years in 2015 to 76.2 years in 2050. The number of people 80 and older is forecast to more than triple, from 126.5 million to 446.6 million worldwide, while their ranks in some Asian and Latin American countries could quadruple.

Growth in senior population is seen in every country in every part of the world. Older people are a rapidly growing proportion of the world's population," said NIA Director Dr. Richard Hodes. "People are living longer, but that does not necessarily mean that they are living healthier. The increase in our aging population presents many opportunities and also several public health challenges that we need to prepare for." Hodes said.

Non-infectious diseases are the main health concern for seniors worldwide, but infectious diseases are also a major threat to seniors in low-income countries, including many in Africa, according to the new report.

Since population aging affects so many aspects of public life — acute and long-term health care needs; pensions, work and retirement; transportation; housing — there is a lot of potential for learning from the experience of countries around the world. 

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