Get involved

Media queries up to 300 px

Media queries up to 400 px

Media queries up to 468 px

Media queries up to 600 px

Media queries up to 720 px

Media queries up to 769 px

Media queries up to 900 px

Media queries up to 1000 px

Media queries up to 1353 px

Media queries over 1354 px

Subscribe to eNews

Privacy policy

About Global AgeWatch

The world is ageing fast. By 2030, there will be more people over 60 than under 10. Already there are more adults over 60 than children under 5.

The Global AgeWatch Index has been developed and constructed by HelpAge International from international data sets drawn from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the World Bank, World Health Organization, International Labour Organization, UNESCO and the Gallup World Poll.

It has benefited from a global advisory panel of more than 40 independent experts in ageing, health, social protection and human development.

The need for a global ageing index

Data is needed for informed debate on ageing. Policy makers broadly agree that we can and should do better in measuring social and economic progress as a means to promote improvements.

The result has been the emergence of a number of different indexes providing evidence that is useful for policy makers. However, none of the existing indexes provides a global picture of how well countries are doing to support the wellbeing of their ageing populations. 

For the first time the Global AgeWatch Index makes international comparisons of quality of life in older age possible. The index is a tool to measure progress and aims to improve the impact of policy and practice on ageing populations.

The Index brings together a unique set of internationally comparable data based on older people's income status, health status, education and employment, and enabling environment. These domains have been selected because they were identified by older people and policy makers alike as key enablers of older people's wellbeing.

Find out more about the Global AgeWatch Index domains.

Data revolution

The Index contributes to Ban-Ki Moon's call for a "data revolution" to ensure no one is left behind in the post-2015 development framework. If this is to be achieved older populations must be included among those who are counted.

Currently the shortage of data on older people is systematically excluding them from development plans and public policy provision.

Data limitations

It has been possible to include only 91 countries at this stage because of current data limitations. However, these 91 countries include 89% of the world's population aged 60 and over. The aim is both to monitor progress and steadily extend the Index to include all countries.

Global AgeWatch Index domains in detail

The aim of the Index is both to capture the multidimensional nature of the quality of life and wellbeing of older people, and to provide a means by which to measure performance and promote improvements.

We have chosen 13 different indicators for the four key domains of Income security, Health status, Education and employment, and Enabling environment.

Global AgeWatch Index: Domains and indicators

Domain 1: Income security

The income security domain assesses people's access to a sufficient amount of income, and the capacity to use it independently, in order to meet basic needs in older age.

Domain 2: Health status

The three indicators used for the health domain provide information about physical and psychological wellbeing.

Domain 3: Employment and education

The two indicators in this domain look at different aspects of the empowerment of older people.

Domain 4: Enabling environment

This domain uses data from Gallup World View to assess older people's perception of social connectedness, safety, civic freedom and access to public transport - issues older people have singled out as particularly important.

Back to top.

Comment on this page

Comments are moderated before publication. Not all comments will be published.

Comments submitted for this page

  • William Blum (29th November 2013)

    Why isn't Cuba included in this survey? Is it perhaps the influence of the United States or of the Americans on your staff who don't want to show Cuba's high rating? I've noticed the absence of Cuba on several international rankings concerned with social factors.

Country ageing data

Data visualisations