An elderly woman. [illustrative].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
There are some 866,000 people over the age of 65 living in Israel, comprising 10.6 percent of the population, according to a report released by the Central Bureau of Statistics ahead of International Day of Older Persons on Wednesday.
This is a drastic jump from the foundation of the State of Israel, when in 1948 only 4% of the population was over the age of 65. According to the report, there are some 485,000 women and around 380,000 men over the age of 65 with nearly half of this population group, some 46%, over the age of 75.
The findings indicate that since 1995, the proportion of people age 65 and over in the population has remained steady at around 10%, though in the past few years there has been a gradual upward trend in this figure.
According to forecasts, by the year 2035 some 14.6% of the population will be over the age of 65 with the elderly population predicted to roughly double to 1.66 million people.
In breaking down the statistics by population group, at the end of 2013, 88% of people over the age of 65 were Jewish, compared to only 8% who were Arab.
The elderly comprised some 12.5% of the overall Jewish population, while they comprised some 4.3% of the overall Arab population.
Furthermore 60.9% of the over-65 population is of European-American descent, while 25.8% is of Asian-African descent and 3.3% is of second generation Israelis. In addition, of the elderly population in Israel some 19.1% are recent immigrants who made Aliyah after 1990 from the USSR.
The report also found that when comparing Israel’s elderly population to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America – areas with marked high fertility rates and relatively low life expectancy – there were more people over the age of 65 comprising the general population. However in comparison with Europe and North America – areas where fertility rates were lower – Israel’s elderly population was significantly lower.
For example the percentage of people over the age of 65 in the OECD stands at 15.1%, five percentage points higher than Israel’s elderly population, while 20.6% of Italy’s population is over the age of 65. However, in sharp contrast, only 6.2% of Mexico’s population, and only 5% of South Africa’s population is over the age of 65.
The report indicated that in Israel 97% of people over the age of 65 lived at home while only 3% lived in institutions, including protected housing facilities. Furthermore, 77.3% of the elderly own their homes while 18.9% live in rented apartments.
With regard to employment in 2013, only 18% of people age 65 and over were employed in the workforce, 26.6% of men and 11.2% of women. Of those working, 35.9% worked as managers or in occupations requiring an academic degree while 23.3% worked as skilled or unskilled workers.
According to the report, 81% of the elderly population was satisfied with their lives while 9% of elderly said they felt “poor” this past year.
Furthermore, 10% of people over 65 believed themselves to be in “very good” health, 35% said they were in “good” health, 38% said they were in “not so good” health and 16% said they were in “poor” health.
The report also found that 36% of elderly “feel alone” on a frequent or “from timeto- time” basis, while 16% said they did not have anyone to turn to during times of crisis or distress.
The report also indicated that 83% of elderly needed medical assistance in 2013, though of these 12%, some 77,000 people had to give up on medical treatment due to their financial situation.
Furthermore 40%, around 317,000 people, had to give up on heating or cooling due to financial hardships and 9%, some 74,000 people had to give up on a hot meal at least once every two days because of financial distress.
This year marks the 24th International Day of Older Persons with the theme of “Leaving No One Behind: Promoting a Society for All.”
According to the United Nations Aging Social Policy and Development Division, “Not addressing older persons means not addressing 20% of the global population by 2030, where there will be more people over 60 than children under 10, with the most rapid change in age structures occurring in the developing world. If our ambition is to ‘Build the Future We Want,’ we must address the population over- 60, which is expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2030.”