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The best and worst countries for older people

Posting in Healthcare

In just four decades, one-fifth of the world's population—or more than 2 billion people—will be aged 60 or over.

Some countries—and not just the wealthiest ones—have done a better job preparing for the spike in the number of older people, according to Global AgeWatch Index.

Global AgeWatch Index ranked countries by how well their aging populations are doing based on income security, health status, employment and education and enabling environment, a category that includes civic freedom, access to public transport, physical safety and social connections. The index issues scores to show how near a country is to the ideal value of 100. The higher the value, the better older people fare.

Older people are faring the best in Nordic, Western European, North American and some East Asian and Latin American countries. Sweden is the best place for older people. Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada round out the top five. The United States comes in eighth place.

Older people fare less well in many African and East Asian countries. Some countries—most of which are in Africa—have been excluded from the index because there is not enough data, according to Global AgeWatch.

Afghanistan is the worst place for older folks, according to the index. Afghanistan received a 24.2 (out of 100) for income security, 7.6 for health status, 9.4 for employment and education and 46.2 for its enabling environment.

But not all poor or developing countries received low rankings. Bolivia, for example, introduced a national policy on aging more than a decade ago. The country has free healthcare for older people and a non-contributory universal pension. Those policies have helped push it past more developed countries including Greece and South Korea.

Check out the entire list below. Or if you want to dig deeper into each ranking, check out Global AgeWatch's country report cards.

Graphics: Global AgeWatch

— By on October 8, 2013, 1:50 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure