According to the Bloomberg Sunset Index, the world’s working-age population is shrinking faster than expected, leaving fewer people to support a growing number of seniors,
Conventional measures of old-age dependency calculate the ratio of people ages 65 and older with those of working age: 15 to 64. But many people stop working well before 65: Men in 66 percent of the 178 countries Bloomberg evaluated and women in 78 percent can begin receiving retirement benefits earlier.
So the Bloomberg index calculates dependency based on each country’s statutory pensionable age, revealing substantial differences in some places with 2016 estimates from organizations including the World Bank and United Nations. Nigeria, with a statutory pensionable age of 50, has only 4.8 workers supporting each senior, compared with 19.4 as indicated by conventional measures. Russia has 2.4 instead of 5.1, and Colombia has 4.5 instead of 9.4.
Asia could be facing the toughest choices in allocating resources. The Asia Pacific Risk Center estimates the region’s elderly population will rise 71 percent by 2030, compared with 55 percent in North America and 31 percent in Europe.
The retirement age in China — with almost 22 percent of the world’s 65-plus population — is 60 for men and 55 for women. The Bloomberg Sunset Index shows 3.5 workers supporting each senior there; conventional calculations indicate 7.3.
Seniors in France, where the retirement age is 61.6, and Singapore, at 55, are the least supported, with a ratio of about two workers to each retiree, the index shows. In the U.S., the ratio is 4.4 to one.
Americans can start receiving Social Security at 62, with a sliding scale for full retirement benefits from 65 to 67, depending on the year of birth. In June, the Social Security Administration estimated the program’s trust fund will run out of money in 2034, though the timeline could be extended by raising the retirement age even more.
Other countries also raised retirement thresholds in the past four years. In France, it’s now 61.58, up from 60. For Greek men, it’s 67 instead of 65. For Italian women, it’s 65.58, up from 62.
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