Notes on methodology and terms/concepts used on the Global AgeWatch website.
This indicator measures the existence and coverage of the pension system in a country.
This indicator is what is commonly known as "beneficiaries coverage rate". It is defined as the ratio of beneficiaries of pension programmes (including non-contributory or zero pillars programmes, both public and private) to the number of people aged 65-plus. Since in some countries the age threshold of 65 is higher than the age at which people become entitled to a pension, it is likely that the indicator value will be in excess of 100% for some countries.
Old age poverty rate
This indicator measures the poverty of older people, using the relative poverty definition.
Percentage of people aged 60-plus living in households where the equivalised income/consumption is below the poverty line threshold of 50% of the national equivalised median income/consumption (equivalising factor is the square root of household size).
This indicator measures the income/consumption situation of older people in relation to the rest of the population.
Average income/consumption of people aged 60-plus as a share of average income/consumption for the rest of society.
GDP per capita
This serves as a proxy for the standard of living of people in a country. It aims to provide a comparison across countries and complement the age-sensitive indicator, relative welfare of older people. The use of GDP per capita indicator implies that all citizens, old and young, would benefit equally from increased economic production in a country.
A measure of the total output of a country that takes the gross domestic product (GDP) and divides it by the number of people in the country.
GDP per capita was converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates (PPP). PPP are in constant 2005 international dollars.
Relative psychological/mental wellbeing
Mental health is a critical indicator of wellbeing in later life. This indicator measures self-assessed mental wellbeing and supplements the healthy life expectancy indicator which relies on physical health only.
Share of people over 50 who answered "yes" to the question: "Do you feel your life has an important purpose or meaning?" Expressed as the percentage of people aged 50+ who answered "yes" to this question divided by the percentage of people aged 35-49 who answered "yes".
This indicator measures older people's access to the labour market and therefore their ability to supplement pension income with wages, and their access to work-related support networks.
Thus, employment rate is used as a proxy for the economic empowerment of older people.
Percentage of the population aged 55-64 that are employed.
Key competencies in the form of knowledge, skills and attitudes improve quality of life in older age. Education is a proxy of lifetime accumulation of skills and competencies that shows the social and human capital potential inherent among older people.
Percentage of the population aged 60+ with secondary or higher education.
This indicator measures the perceived support available from relatives or friends.
Percentage of people aged 50+ who responded "yes" to the survey question: "If you were in trouble, do you have relatives or friends you can count on to help you whenever you need them, or not?"
This indicator measures how safe people feel in their neighbourhood.
Percentage of people aged 50+ who responded "yes" to the survey question: "Do you feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where you live?"
This indicator measures how much control older people feel they have over their life.
Percentage of people aged 50+ who provided a positive response to the survey question: "In this country, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?"
Access to public transport
This indicator measures access to and quality of public transport which is key to older people's quality of life, enabling them to access services (health, shops) and friends and family.
Percentage of people aged 50+ who provided a positive response to the survey question: "In the city or area where you live, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the public transportation systems?"
Life expectancy is the average number of years of life remaining to a person at a particular age based on a given set of age-specific death rates. Life expectancy is calculated using a mathematical tool called a "life table".
The World Health Organization (WHO) regularly updates its life tables for Member States, to take account of new data on levels of child and adult mortality and revises its series of life tables for each Member State for years starting from 1990.
These life tables also provide estimates of total deaths by age and sex that underpin WHO mortality and cause of death analyses. More on the methodology: http://www.who.int/healthinfo/statistics/LT_method.pdf
Life expectancy at 60
This is the average number of years that a person at that age can be expected to live, assuming that age-specific mortality levels remain constant.
This is a better estimate of survival within the adult life course than life expectancy at birth, particularly for low- and middle-income countries. Life expectancy at birth is here hugely influenced by high levels of infant mortality and therefore tells us little about the survival of adults.
Healthy life expectancy (HALE)
Also called "disability-adjusted life expectancy", HALE represents the average number of years that a person can expect to live in "full health" by taking into account years lived in less than full health due to disease and/or injury.
Healthy life expectancy is a modification of the conventional life expectancy taking into account the time lived with disability. It adjusts the expectation of years of life for the loss on account of disability, using explicit weights for different health states.
Healthy life expectancy can be increased by eliminating disease and/or injury throughout the life course and compressing disability to a shorter period at the end of life. The economic, social and cultural benefits of doing so are enormous.
Note that this data is only available for 187 countries.
Policies and ageing
The table on policies shows, if information is available, if policies and/or legislation on ageing exists in the respective country. This information provides insight into a country's response to population ageing.
To get a better understanding of this it is, however, essential to look at the implementation and evaluation of these. Very little evidence on resources allocated to implementation or on implementation and evaluation was found.
The following definitions to "policy" and "legislation" were applied:
Policy: a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by an organisation
Legislation: laws, considered collectively
National policies on ageing and/or older people are age-specific policy tools that generally call for mainstreaming ageing and the provisions made in these national plans on ageing into sectoral policy, such as health or social security policy.
The information was collected through extensive primary and secondary research conducted in preparation of the Ageing in the Twenty-First Century report and its preceding Overview of Available Policies and Legislation, Data and Research, and Institutional Arrangements Relating To Older Persons - Progress Since Madrid report published by UNFPA and HelpAge International in 2011.
Methods of evidence gathering included:
• analysis of government responses to questionnaires;
• publications and other materials issued by governments;
• information provided by international organisations;
• additional materials from non-government sources, including articles in academic journals, reports and presentations prepared by research institutes;
• web searches;
• personal communication and correspondence with experts.
Further details, including on the methodology, can be found in Overview of Available Policies and Legislation, Data and Research, and Institutional Arrangements Relating To Older Persons - Progress Since Madrid report published by UNFPA and HelpAge International in 2011.
The database on policies and legislation is a living document that will grow as more information becomes available. If you have additional information on any of the schemes listed, please email the Global AgeWatch team at HelpAge.
The information on social pensions is taken from HelpAge's social pensions database (www.pension-watch.net) which gathers information from a range of sources and draws on the knowledge of our worldwide team of social protection experts.
It has data on over 90 social pension schemes running across the globe in low-, middle- and high-income countries.
The database is a living document that will grow as more information is gathered. If you have additional information on any of the schemes listed, please email the PensionWatch team at HelpAge.
Geographical targeting: A targeting method which uses geographical location to identify beneficiaries.
GDP per capita: Income per person in a population. Per capita income is often used to measure a country's standard of living.
Means test: A targeting method based on income that seeks to collect comprehensive information on household income and/or wealth and verifies the information collected against independent sources.
Pensions-testing: A targeting method which aims to exclude those already in receipt of a pension.
Social pension: A non-contributory cash transfer paid regularly to older people by government.
Targeting: The effort to focus resources among those most in need of them.