According to the Global Age Watch Index, Honduras is the worst Western hemisphere country to live in as an elderly person. The survey measured income security, health status, employment and education, and enabling the environment. It is important to understand and consider the well-being of the elderly in different countries, because their mortality is a good indicator of a country’s total development.

Over half of the participants reported not feeling safe using public transportation or walking alone at night. According to the World Bank, “Between 2005 and 2011, the homicide rate in Honduras more than doubled from 37 to 91.6 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.”  The lack of a pension system leaves 70 percent of Hondurans above the age of 60 in poverty.

Less than seven percent of Honduras’s population is 60 years old or over, which correlates with the poor living conditions of the elderly. Moreover, it is harder to advocate for better condition for the elderly when they are a minority. Inversely, developed Western countries have high aging populations and living standards for the elderly. Larger aging populations have more representation, especially in democratic countries. Therefore, governmental policies are more favorable to the elderly.

Population make-up significantly impacts the future of a country. Countries with large youth populations are more inclined to political instability. The Arab Spring, for example, was started in countries with large populations of youth. The Survey was created by the United Nations Population Fund and covered 98 percent of the world’s elderly.  It was motivated by the growing aging demographic in the world’s population.

As expected, traditionally developed countries fared better in the survey – Sweden, Norway and Canada top the list of best countries to grow old in.

– Nicole Yancy

Sources: Foreign Policy: Think Again Global Aging, Foreign Policy: The Arab World’s Youth Army, The Guardian, World Bank, IB Times
Photo: Billweeks