Where Are The Fastest Aging Populations Around The World?

Updated: Jul 17, 2022

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The fastest aging populations in the world

Both the oldest and youngest populations in society experience unique challenges, with senior groups often being affected more than others. As the oldest baby boomers are now retiring–and life expectancies are increasing thanks to technologies such as medical alert systems and hearing aids – countries and states are seeing rapid growth in their elderly populations.

We wanted to find out which of the world´s places have the largest elder population. In order to do this, we looked at the number of people over age 65 in each state in the US, and in every country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). We also wanted to find out which places have the fastest-growing elderly populations, so we calculated the growth of the number of people over age 65 in each location in the last 10 years.

According to your findings, Japan has the largest senior population, with its citizens over age 65 accounting for 28.79 percent of the country’s residents. Meanwhile, in the US, Maine is the state with the largest elderly population in 2020, and Alaska has seen the largest increase in its senior population over the last 10 years.

The-countries with the biggest over 65 populations
  1. 1. Japan – 28.79 percent of the population over 65 years old
    Of all the countries in the OECD, Japan has the largest population of people over age 65. With one of the oldest populations in the world, Japan’s population consists of 28.79 percent of people over age 65. One theorized reason for Japan’s large elderly population is the post-war baby boom that affected the nation between 1947 and 1949, a time which was followed by a long period of low fertility rates. Japan’s life expectancy is also the highest in the OECD, at 84.7 years, thanks to the country´s low rates of cerebrovascular diseases and its citizens tending to adhere to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
  2. 2. Italy – 23.37 percent of the population over age 65
    In the second place, Italy has one of the highest proportions in the world of people over age 65 and is the European country with the largest elderly population. In 2020, 23.37 percent of Italy’s total population was over age 65, a statistic that is likely a result of low birth rates. In 2010, Italy’s elderly population made up 20.4 percent of the country’s total residents, showing a 14.53 percent increase in Italian citizens over age 65 in the last 10 years.
  3. 3. Finland – 22.49 percent of the population over age 65
    One of the countries with the largest elderly populations, Finland, accounts for 22.49 percent of its citizens being over age 65.
    Following the Lapland War, the country experienced a short baby boom, and those baby boomers are now retiring, thus rapidly increasing the proportion of senior people in Finnish society in a short period of time. In 2010, 17.26 percent of the population was over age 65, showing a 30.3 percent increase over 10 years.
The countries with the oldest populations
The US states with the biggest over 65
  1. 1. Maine – 21.8 percent of the population over age 65
    Considered to be the “oldest” state in the US, Maine has 21.8 percent of its population that falls in the over 65 categories. The US Census Bureau estimates that by 2030, over 28 percent of Maine’s population will be over age 65. This would mean that by 2030, there could be an increase of over 76 percent in the elderly population from 2010 (when just 15.9 percent of Maine’s citizens were over 65 years old).
  2. 2. Florida – 21.3 percent of the population over age 65
    One of the sunniest states, Florida has long been a hub for retirees. As such, it comes as no surprise that its elderly population is the highest out of most states in the USWith 21.3 percent of Florida’s population over age 65, it has one of the largest senior communities in the country. Florida’s median age is 42 years, and since 2010, the elderly population in the state has grown by just 23.12 percent.
  3. 3. West Virginia – 20.9 percent of the population over age 65
    One of the smallest states in the nation, West Virginia is one of the states with the largest proportion of elderly residents. Around 20.9 percent of West Virginia’s population is aged over 65, and the state has a median age of 42.5 years. Since 2010, West Virginia’s senior population has increased by 30.63 percent, despite an overall 3.2 percent decrease in the state population.
The countries with the oldest populations
The US state with the fastest growing over 65
  1. 1. Alaska – 70.13 percent increase in over 65 population since 2010
    Alaska has one of the youngest populations in the country, with a median age of 34 years, second only to Utah, so it might be surprising to see it is also the state with the fastest-growing senior population. Between 2010 and 2020, Alaska’s elder population has increased by 70.13 percent, although the state still has the second-smallest elderly population out of all 50 US states.
  2. 2. Wyoming – 43.55 percent increase in over 65 population since 2010
    With one of the fastest-growing senior populations in the US, Wyoming’s over 65 population has grown 43.55 percent from 2010 to 2020. Wyoming ranks in 20th place as one of the states with the largest elder populations in 2020 at 17.8 percent, a sharp increase from 13.5 percent in 2010.
  3. 3. New Hampshire – 42.96 percent increase in over 65 population since 2010
    One of the top 10 states with the highest proportion of elderly populations, New Hampshire is also one of the states with the fastest-growing proportion of people over age 65.In 2010, around 13.5 percent of people in New Hampshire were over 65 years old, while by 2020, that figure increased by 42.96 percent. Today, around 19.3 percent of Granite Staters are over 65 years old.
The states with the biggest increase

Methodology

We wanted to find out which states in the US and which countries in the OECD have the largest population of people over age 65. 

We ranked all 50 US states in 2020, basing those rankings on the percentage of the total population over age 65, which was data sourced from PRB.

To calculate the states with the fastest-growing population over age 65, the percentage of the total over 65 population by state in 2010 was sourced from the US Census Bureau. The percentage increase between the percentage of over 65 population in 2010 and in 2020 for each state was then calculated.

We ranked all countries in the OECD based on the percentage of the total population over age 65 in 2020, which was sourced from OECD Data.

To calculate the countries with the fastest-growing population over age 65, the percentage increase between the percentage of over 65 population in 2010 and in 2020 for each country was calculated.

Information on life expectancy by country was sourced from OECD Data.

WRITTEN BY

Corey Whelan is a writer, health care professional, and Brooklyn, New York native. She is a reproductive health advocate who has helped countless patients through the trials and triumphs of infertility and adoption over the past 25 years. Corey's passion is sharing her knowledge of health and wellness through her writing, and no topic is off limits. She's mom to two grown children and two rescue dogs who captured her heart.