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UNECE and European Commission report on Active Ageing highlights strongest progress for women

UNECE and European Commission report on Active Ageing highlights strongest progress for women

Today, almost 98 million people in the EU-28 are aged 65 years and over - some 19.2 per cent of the total population. With this share set to continue rising over the coming decades, ensuring “active ageing” through healthy and independent living and maximising older populations’ contributions to the economy and society at large will be critical to ensure a sustainable response to the complex challenges and opportunities of population ageing in Europe.

The Active Ageing Index provides a tool to support these efforts, enabling the identification of areas in which older perons’ potential for healthy and active ageing is still untapped, and allowing the analysis of developments over time.

The 2018 Active Ageing Index Analitical Report, launched today by UNECE and the European Commission, presents the latest Active Ageing Index (AAI) calculations. They show a continued positive trend in active ageing in Europe. Since 2008 the overall AAI score for EU28 countries increased by about 10 per cent from 32.2 points in 2008 to 35.8 points in 2016 (ranging from 28.1 in Greece to 46.9 points in Sweden). The strongest variations from the EU average were found in the areas of employment and social participation.

2018 AAI results for EU member States


The Report, which was presented today at the Active Ageing Index Stakeholder Meeting, provides a detailed analysis of AAI calculations based on the most recent available data for the year 2016. The individual country scores were calcuated overall as well as for each of the four AAI domains: employment; participation in society; independent, healthy and secure living; and capacity and enabling environment for active ageing. Based on the results, countries were grouped into four clusters to facilitate the identfication of core challenges affecting each cluster and policy areas that require most urgent interventions.

Gender gap in Active Ageing

With the exception of Estonia, Finland and France where women’s overall AAI scores exceed those of men, men have higher results in all EU countries. However, between 2008 and 2016 the overall increase in the active ageing score for women has exceeded that of men in most countries (with the exception of Austria, Hungary, Malta, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal), indicating a narrowing of the gender gap over time.

The AAI value for women compared to men found the largest gender gaps in employment, given men’s higher employment rates. Women outperform men only in the social participation domain, which covers volunteering, unpaid care and political participation. 

The Active Ageing Index – what is it?

The Active Ageing Index - based on 22 indicators grouped into 4 domains -  measures the untapped potential of older people for active and healthy ageing. It was developed as a tool to identify areas for action to realize the potential of older persons. It takes into account different ways in which older people contribute to society – by means of paid or unpaid work, informal care, political participation, or by keeping healthy, informed and independent lifestyles as they age. The Index also covers enabling environmental factors that faciliate active ageing such as educational and care systems and different infrastructures promoting well-being, social cohesion and digitalisation.

By comparing data cross-nationally and across clusters of countries, analysing trends over time and across different AAI domains, the 2018 AAI Analytical Report presents a glimpse of the wealth of information that the AAI can deliver. The report also draws on examples of AAI calcuations at subnational level in Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain.

Despite some methodological limitations, the AAI is considered to be one of the few and most rigorous monitoring instruments available internationally to support policymakers in the difficult task of identifying and implementing the best strategies to promote active ageing in our societies.

The AAI project is run jointly by UNECE and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL), and benefits from the advice of the Expert Group on AAI.

Read more
2018 Active Ageing Index Analytical Report
AAI Wiki
AAI Stakeholder meeting: 

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Information Unit

Tel.: +41 (0) 22 917 12 34

Email: [email protected]

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