Waiting for God

Aging Population

According to the Population Reference Bureau in the United States, Asia and Europe have some of the world’s oldest population.  Japan, Italy, Finland, Portugal and Greece have the highest proportion of people 65 and over, and Spain, Greece, France, Japan, Italy and Uruguay with the highest percentage over 85.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly two billion people across the world are expected to be over 60 by 2050. 


There are currently about 6.4 million Canadians over the age of 65 (roughly 17.2% of the total population).  According to the 2021 Census 2.3% (over 861,000 people) of the population is aged 85 and older.  Of these, 0.03% are centenarians.  Both these numbers are expected to grow substantially by 2050 when those reaching 85 will exceed 2.7 million people in Canada.  

In Ottawa, Canada, the proportion of senior is estimated to account for 22% of the population by 2035.   It is estimated that the proportion of people approaching the end of life who could benefit from palliative care will rise to between 75% and 87.6% in 2040, with the greatest increases being in deaths from cancer and dementia. Most deaths will occur in people aged over 85. 

The United States

In 2034, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that older people will outnumber younger people for the first time in history.  People over 65 are expected to number 77.0 million.  Children under 18 will number 76.5 million.


Populations in Europe are also aging.  The share of the population older than 65 is increasing across all European countries.  For more information, check out Aging of Europe on Wikepedia.


There are currently 14 million people over the age of 65 in Italy.  It has one of the highest percentages of seniors (over 65) at 24%. Accordingly, it is set to shrink from 59.2 million in 2021 to 54 .2 million in 2050, and to 47.7 million by 2070.  


Portugal’s over-65 population sits at 2.24 million, which is ~22% of their total population.  


Finland’s over-65 population grew from 17% in 2010 to 22.4%in 2022 and is ranked third among OECD countries. There are over 1.6 million Finish seniors, and over 330 thousand over 80.  


France’s over-65 population sits at 13.2 million, which is ~20% of their total population.  


Spain’s over-65 population sits at 8.99 million, which is ~19% of their total population.  


Greece’s over-65 population sits at 2.33 million, which is ~22% of their total population.  


One in six Australians are aged 65 and over.  Over half of those people are women.  The number of people continues to grow.  In 2066 it is projected that older people will make up between 21-23% of the total population. Currently only 12% of Australians are over 65.  

For those 85 and over, the proportion is now at 2.1% of the total population.  That number is expected to rise to between 3.6-4.4%.

New Zealand

New Zealand and Australia have the highest speed of aging in developed countries.  The median age in NZ is currently 35 and is expected to be 46 by the year 2051.  By then, it is anticipated that 1.18 million people will be aged 65 an older, which is an increase of 165% since 1999.


Japan has the highest percentage of seniors across all countries. There are currently 35.6 million people above the age of 65, which makes up 28% of the Japanese population2.  The amount of people over the age of 60 has been rising steadily since 1950 and is expected to reach 35.3% of the total population by 2040.


Uruguay presents the largest proportion of people over 60 in Latin America.    Currently approximately 17% of the population are seniors, which amounts to 592 thousand people.  


China has the largest aged and aging population in the world. Though a relatively small proportion of the population (12%), there are over 166 million people aged 65 and up in China. That number is projected to increase to 28% by 2040.  That will mean that over 402 million people will be over the age of 60. 


  1. https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-largest-aging-population-in-the-world.html
  2. https://www.prb.org/resources/countries-with-the-oldest-populations-in-the-world/
  3. https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2021/as-sa/98-200-X/2021004/98-200-X2021004-eng.cfm
  4. https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/reports-research-and-statistics/sociodemographics.aspx#Demographics-and-Population-Projections
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5436458/
  6.  https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2018/03/graying-america.html
  7. https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/italys-population-could-shrink-by-115-mln-by-2070-statistics-agency-2022-09-22/
  8. https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/short_news/finlands-ageing-population-increasing-at-record-speed/
  9. https://www.statista.com/statistics/521152/population-of-finland-by-age/
  10. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/older-people/older-australians/contents/demographic-profile
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24750537/
  12. https://www.prb.org/resources/uruguay-out-front-on-population-aging/