Russia ranks third among members of the Commonwealth of Independent States /CIS/ by the number of elderly persons over 65 who make up 13% of the population. In Ukraine, the elderly account for 16% of the population, and in Belarus - for 14%, the governmental newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported citing the Rosstat Federal Service for State Statistics.
Asian countries are much younger. In Uzbekistan for example, the elderly only make up 4% of the population.
In a worldwide context, Russia would be in the middle. Japan is the oldest country, with the share of the elderly at 23%. Of the 27 European Union states, only Ireland and Slovenia have a smaller share of persons over 65 years of age than Russia. The USA has the same indicator as Russia. India is among the youngest countries, with a mere five% of old persons. According to UN classification, a country is regarded old if residents over 65 years of age make up 7% or more of the population.
In Russia, the situation is not homogenous. It has both "young" and "old" provinces. The former include Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan and Tuva Republic where the average age of the population is 25 to 28.
Old regions include many provinces of the Central and Volga Federal Districts where the average age of the population is 41-42.
Statisticians say Russian pensioners have to work. Of the 33 million retired, 13 million continue working. On the average, people work for another five to seven years after reaching retirement age, due to a difficult financial situation. An average pensioner's minimal subsistence level in the country makes up 5,800 roubles, and some find it impossible to live on this money, especially if they have not been saving or if their children are not supporting them. Elderly people often need medicines which they have to buy with their own money.
"Working after retiring is the only way to resist old age in Russia. "I regard as unjust all the proposals by the authorities concerning cuts in pensions for the retired who continue working or cancelation of annual adjustment of their pensions for inflation, Rossiiskaya Gazeta cited Ryudmila Rzhanitsyna, leading researcher at the Institute of Economics, Russian Academy of Sciences, as saying.
Russia is at the 78th place - between Nepal and Laos - in the world rating of pensioners' standard of living. A study conducted by the Help Age International charity organization under the UN aegis compared the standard of living of people over 60 years of age in 91 countries, Novye Izvestia writes.
Sweden appears to be the best country for the elderly. Norway and Germany rank second and third, respectively. They are followed by the Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, the USA, Iceland, Japan, Austria, Ireland and Great Britain. Pakistan, Tanzania and Afghanistan are at the bottom of the list.