Practical analysis for investment professionals
19 June 2013

Fact File: Number of People Over 80 Will Double by 2050 Across OECD Countries

The number of people over 80 will double by 2050, from 3.9% of the population to 9.1% across Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries, and from 4.7% to 11.3% across 27 EU members, according to “A Good Life in Old Age? Monitoring and Improving Quality in Long-Term Care,” a new report from the OECD and the European Commission. It is estimated that up to half of this elderly population will need help coping with their daily needs; yet even today, governments are battling to deliver high-quality care to those with impaired physical and mental abilities, the report says.

Excerpted Country Notes

  • United States: Population ageing in the United States has been slower than in most the other OECD countries: 3.7% of the population was over the age of 80 in 2010 (the OECD average is 4%); projections suggest this share will increase to 7.4% (the OECD average is 10%) by 2050. However, as the number of old people living with more than one chronic conditions continues to grow, population ageing will have a significant impact on families, health, and long-term care systems. See: “Grappling with Alzheimer’s: Advising Clients on the High Costs of Aging” and “Five Ways Financial Advisors Can Better Serve Clients with Chronic Illnesses.”
  • United Kingdom: In 2012, nearly 17% of the UK population was over the age of 65 (the OECD average is 15%), and 4.3% was over the age of 80 (OECD average 4%, 2010). Demographic projections suggest a significant growth in the number of people aged over 80 years by 2050, to reach 10% of the population by 2050, in line with the OECD average.
  • Australia: Australia expenditure on long-term care as a share of GDP is relatively small (0.04%) due to the exclusion of all expenditures for residential aged care facilities in welfare (social) services. This figure is expected to at double, and could even triple, by 2050, in line with projections for most other OECD countries.
  • Germany: In 2010, 21% of the German population was over the age of 65, and 5% of the population was over the age of 80. By 2050, 33% of the German population will be over the age of 65, and 15% of the population will be over the age of 80.
  • Japan: Japan has the highest projected share of the population aged over 80 years in the world for 2050. Despite that projection, Japan has thus far succeeded in containing long-term care (LTC) expenditures — at 1.2% of GDP in 2010 — to levels well below that of other comprehensive LTC systems, such as Sweden (3.58% of GDP in 2010) or the Netherlands (3.7% of GDP). Yet Japanese public spending on LTC is projected to more than double, and could even reach 4.4% of GDP in 2050 based on the 2011 OECD projection.

Download the full report here: “A Good Life in Old Age? Monitoring and Improving Quality in Long-Term Care.”

Please note that the content of this site should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute.

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About the Author(s)
Lauren Foster

Lauren Foster was a content director on the professional learning team at CFA Institute and host of the Take 15 Podcast. She is the former managing editor of Enterprising Investor and co-lead of CFA Institute’s Women in Investment Management initiative. Lauren spent nearly a decade on staff at the Financial Times as a reporter and editor based in the New York bureau, followed by freelance writing for Barron’s and the FT. Lauren holds a BA in political science from the University of Cape Town, and an MS in journalism from Columbia University.

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