GIS– 15 September 2015: Mauritius, according to the Global AgeWatch Index 2015 which rates countries according to the social and economic wellbeing of older people, at the 42th position, is ranked highest overall in the region and leads the way with a universal pension and social insurance scheme established in the 1950s, making it among the top 10 globally in income security.
The Global AgeWatch Index shows not only what works for older people but also responds to core issues of concern to older people. It is a framework for governments and the international community to develop and implement policy and programmes to ensure no older person is left behind. Using the latest available internationally comparable data, it ranks 96 countries, covering 91 per cent of the world’s population aged 60 and over.
The Index provides an analysis of results by region and measures four key domains for older people, covering the most crucial aspects of their wellbeing, experience and opportunities. These are: income security, health status, capability, and the enabling environment – factors that older people say are necessary for them to be able to function independently.
Income security is measured by pension coverage, poverty rate in old age, the relative welfare of older people, and living standards using GNI per capita as a proxy. Health status, on the other hand is calculated by three indicators: life expectancy at 60, healthy life expectancy at 60, and psychological wellbeing.
As regards, capability, it is measured by employment levels and education status of older people, as proxies for engagement and human capital in older age. The employment rate of people aged 55 to 64 indicates their access to the labour market, conferring choice and purpose, supporting social relationships and bringing in income.
Concerning enabling environment, it is estimated by access to public transport, physical safety, social connections and civic freedom. These indicators capture the enabling attributes of the communities in which older people live. Focus groups of older people in 36 countries prioritised these indicators, determining levels of engagement within the community, freedom of movement, autonomy and choice of living arrangements.
The Index underlines that inequality in health, education and income levels of older people is increasing between top-ranked, high-income countries and bottom-ranked, predominantly low-income countries. This year, Switzerland (1) is at the top, while Afghanistan (96) remains at the bottom. As in 2013 and 2014, the top 19 places are taken by industrialised nations. Africa is overrepresented at the bottom, with countries from the region occupying seven of the 10 lowest places.
Despite Africa’s rapid economic growth, poor social and economic wellbeing for older people means most countries continue to rank in the bottom quarter of the Index. Due to a lack of data, only 11 of the 54 countries in the region are included, leading to the possible exclusion of older people from social and economic policies in the missing countries. South Africa (78) comes next followed by Ghana (81). Tanzania (91), Mozambique (94) and Malawi (95) are all in the bottom five.
It is recalled that there are currently around 901 million people aged 60 or over worldwide, representing 12.3 per cent of the global population. By 2030, this will have increased to 1.4 billion or 16.5 per cent, by 2050, it will have increased to 2.1 billion or 21.5 per cent of the global population.
Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website:http://gis.govmu.org