WHO updates fact sheet on Ageing and Health (30 September 2015)

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently updated its fact sheet on ageing and health.

Key Messages:

For the first time in human history, most people can expect to live into their sixties and beyond.

Today (2015), the number of people 60 years or older is 900 million (12% of total population). By 2050 this number will increase to 2 billion (22% of total population).

In 2015, the number of people 80 years or older is 125 million. By 2050, China alone will have almost as many individuals in this age group (120 million). The total number of people 80 years or older will increase to 434 million globally.

By 2050, 80% of all elderly people will be living in low and middle-income countries.

While countries like France had almost 150 years to adapt to a 10% increase (10% to 20%) in the proportion of people 60 years or more, countries like India, Brazil and China will have little over 20 years to make the same adaptation.

By 2020, the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than 5 years.

Geriatric syndromes- frailty, urinary incontinence, falls, delirium and pressure ulcers- appear to be better predictors of death than the presence or number of specific diseases.

Challenges in responding to population ageing include:

  • Diversity in older age
  • Health inequities
  • Outdated and ageist stereotypes
  • A rapidly changing world

Useful links:

Link to the updated fact sheet on Ageing and health:


Link to 10 facts on ageing and health:


Link to Global Strategy and action Plan on Ageing and Health: Consultation (open for comments till 30 October 2015):


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