Feminization of Aging Seen in Iranian Population

Feminization of Aging  Seen in Iranian Population
Feminization of Aging  Seen in Iranian Population

The increasing number of elderly women in nursing homes is a matter of concern, said Farid Barati, head of the Secretariat of National Council of the Elderly (SNCE), at the State Welfare Organization.

Higher life expectancy and imbalance in gender ratio, with women’s population exceeding that of men, are reasons for the development. “The gender ratio was 100 women for 109 men at one time but now now the figures are reversed with 100 women for 98 men,” he said, quoted by IRNA.

In 2006, 7.3% of the population or 5.1 million people were elderly. A study carried out 5 years later, showed the figure had increased to 8.2% or 6.5 million elderly, with women accounting for 51%.

Iran will have approximately 15 million older people by 2025 and in the future, the social costs for caring for the elderly will be quite high, if the overall younger population does not increase, population experts say. By 2041, the number of older people could reach 20 million. If the number of elderly is 8 percent or more, it means the population is aging.

In 10 years, it is expected that in every 10 Iranian families there will be 7 people who are 60 years or older.

The aging population will grow at a faster pace and by 2051 there will be one old person among every four people in the country, Barati said.

An aging population could present challenges, leading to a shortage of workforce and an increase in healthcare expenses. Moreover, the increasing number of older women necessitates “wise planning to address feminization of aging” in coordination with the Health Ministry’s Women Affairs Department, the State Welfare Organization and experts.

According to the Statistical Center of Iran, people are considered senior citizens at 65 years. However, the retirement age is 60 years in Iran.

Globally, the elderly constitute 8.2% of world population. A country is recognized as aging if senior citizens aged over 65 years constitute 12% of the total population; the elderly population in the world is growing rapidly and projected to increase to 12% by 2036.  Between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population aged over 60 is expected to double from 11% to 22% or from 605 million to 2 billion.


At a seminar last month on assessment and review of legislation on population aging programs in the upcoming five-year economic development plan (2016-2021), Barati had said the “shortcomings in legislation must not be overlooked and certain legal areas need to be addressed more closely.”

The seminar was held by the SNCE, Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare and the State Welfare Organization (SWO) in co-operation with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Prof. Anooshiravan Mohseni Bandpei, deputy minister and head of SWO, said a national committee of experts had been formed “to come up with a unified comprehensive plan to address the needs of elderly.”

On defining the Elderly Index for Iran, he said “Income, mental and physical health, social participation and empowerment are among the indices currently used in 82 countries in the world. We are planning to define such indexes.”

Based on statistics, 30% of concerns regarding elderly are related to physical health and the remaining to social support, dignity and empowerment.

Dr. Ahmad Meidari, deputy of social welfare, Ministry of Cooperatives, said through appropriate planning and coordination, “we can overcome health risks and allow the elderly to enjoy quality life with their families.”

Elderly people are a valuable source of experience and knowledge, and “we must recognize and make the best use of their knowledge and capacity to nourish our adolescents and youth,” he added.