With COVID-19 on everyone's mind these days, it is no surprise that most are thinking of ways to avoid getting the virus. Many people are also trying to assess if they would be considered at risk if they were to be exposed. The biggest risk factor we are reading and hearing about is that it affects the elderly more seriously than the young.
The table below shows the general median age for different countries/territories.
According to the UN (United Nations), there are different reasons why a certain population may have a higher median age than others. Decreasing fertility rates, low migration rates, advancement in healthcare and mortality all contribute to a country having an older population. Access to a healthcare system also has a direct impact on how high a population's life expectancy may be.
Let's have a look at some of the oldest populations based on median age.
Monaco: 53.1 years
Monaco is one of the smallest countries in the world, measuring less than 1 square mile. (0.78 mile, to be exact - that is smaller than Central Park in New York City!). Its population is over 38 000 people, making it one of the densest countries in the world. A notable fact about Monaco's population is that more than 30% of its residents are millionaires, largely due to the fact that it does not charge its citizens income tax. This may also be why the population is older - wealthy retirees move to Monaco to be able to save every penny they have earned. Less than 30% of their population is from Monaco, so it is believed that their population is older mainly due to immigration of wealthy retired foreigners.
Japan: 47.3 years
Japan is an island country located in East Asia, has a population of 126.8 million people. Of all those people, 28.1% of the population's is over the age of 65. That translates to 35.5 million people that are ages 65 or older. This puts Japan toward the top of the list when it comes to older populations. With Japan being so advanced when it comes to technology, it comes as no surprise that the country is high tech when it comes to their aging population too. They have invented different robots to help with their elders' needs, along with smart walkers and trackers that can keep patients with dementia or Alzheimer's safe if they were to wander outside their home. Japan also has a universal health insurance system in place, which makes it easier for Japanese people to receive health services. Accessible healthcare is an undeniable reason why people in Japan are older - they are able to get proper care and are not dying from preventable and treatable diseases.
Germany: 47.1 years
Germany is a Western Europe country with a population count of 82.79 million, and its median age is 47.1 years old. The country has initiated an e-health service to better serve their aging population, and has mandatory long-term care insurance. This ensures their older citizens get proper healthcare access, which is likely why their median age is higher than other countries.
Saint Pierre and Miquelon: 46.5 years
Saint Pierre and Miquelon is an archipelago (group of islands) that belongs to France, but is situed just south of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. Saint Pierre and Miquelon is semi-autonomous and are fully functional on their own, but they use The Euro and speak French. You can literally visit France while being in North America, as it is a ferry ride away if visiting from Newfoundland. Oddly enough, though it belongs to France, its closest point to France is over 2300 miles away. In total, there is about 93 miles of land and 6080 inhabitants, making it very dense. The youth tend to emigrate for better schooling and career opportunities, which results in Saint Pierre and Miquelon having a more advanced age in its population.
Italy: 45.5 years
Italy is a country situated in Western Europe and counts 60.48 million inhabitants. Its median age is 45.5 years, making it one of the oldest countries by population age. Italy is said to have one of the best healthcare systems: it includes nationalized healthcare, which is extremely accessible and largely free. This is most likely the main reason why Italy's population has a higher median age. The fact that their population is older is also probably why they were hit so hard by COVID-19, seeing as the virus typically affects the elderly more than the young.
Disadvantage Of Higher Median Age
It is clear that having accessible healthcare, advanced tehcnology along with low emigration rates and decreasing fertility rates create a direct correlation and likely affects the median age a certain country or territory has. Unfortunately, in some cases like the COVID-19 pandemic, a higher median age is sometimes a disadvantage. An older population also means a small younger workforce, greater socioeconomic costs, and the need of inviting immigrants to replace the vacant employment positions.