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The Best Places to Grow Old

The United States ranked below average for its geographic region in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy.

| BY Kent McDill

Everyone in the world is either currently old, or will be old someday.

Studies show that some places are better places to be old than others, and according to one study, the best place to grow old is Norway.

The Global AgeWatch index of 96 countries studies many different aspects of life in those countries, and determined that Norway was the best place for old people to live. The rankings were based on 13 different criteria from four specific areas related to the quality of life: income security, health status, capability (which includes employment and educational opportunities) and the enabling environment (which includes matter such as physical safety).

The 96 countries represent 91 percent of the world’s population aged 60 or older.

After Norway, the remaining top 10 are Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Iceland, United States of America, Japan and New Zealand. Countries in Africa and the Middle East make up the bottom 10, with Afghanistan getting the bottom rank.

Norway’s data included the fact that the average life expectancy for a 60-year-old is to reach 84 years of age and the healthy life expectancy extends to the age of 77. Also, 100 percent of its residents receive a pension after the age of 65.

Japan had the highest marks for providing the longest healthy life expectancy at 80.3 years of age. Switzerland was given the top mark for environment.

The study was conducted for Global AgeWatch by the charitable organization HelpAge, which focused it report this year on income security, which for the purposes of the study means pensions. In most studies, older people of the world identify pensions as the best way to fend off elderly poverty.

HelpAge estimates there will be over two billion people over the age of 60 on the planet by 2050. “Incomes are often too low to save for old age, which is why there is such a need for a basic social pension now,’’ said HelpAge International chief Toby Porter.

Porter said the study shows that Latin American countries have improved their coverage of social pensions, and China introduced a rural social pension in 2009 that positively affected 133 million people.

"In most European Union countries, pensions systems as a whole do more to reduce inequality than all other parts of the tax or benefit system combined," said Porter.

But it is in the area of pensions where the United States suffers in comparison to many other countries. The study data shows the U.S. ranks 22nd in terms of pension income coverage. The United States also ranked below average in its geographic region for life expectancy (83 years of age by average) and healthy life expectancy (77).


About the Author

Kent McDill

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.