RAMALLAH, September 30, 2018 (WAFA) – The Palestinian society is considered a young society where the percentage of young people is high and the percentage of the elderly is relatively low, said the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) on Sunday on the occasion of the World Elderly Day.
In 2017, the number of the elderly aged 60 and above reached 233,269 persons (5.0%), (152,443 persons (5.4%) in the West Bank and 80,826 persons (4.3%) in Gaza Strip).
PCBS said even though, the percentage of the elderly will be increasing during the coming years in Palestine, but their percentage will stay relatively low not exceeding 5.0% during the current decade. The elderly percentage may start increasing after year 2020.
Palestine witnessed improvement in life expectancy since the beginning of the last two decades. Life expectancy has increased about 6-8 years during the last two decades. In particular life expectancy increased for both males and females from 67.0 years in 1992 to 72.7 years for males and 75.0 years for females in mid of the year 2017. The life expectancy is expected to increase during the coming years. The increase of life expectancy rate at birth resulted in the increase of the elderly number in Palestine which requires studying and researching the elderly situation in Palestine.
Increase of Elderly Females Percentage against Elderly Males Percentage
The percentage of males aged 60 and above in Palestine reached 4.6% in 2017 against 5.4% for females with sex ratio 88.5 males against 100 females.
One Household out of Six Households is Headed by an Elderly Person
15.9% of households headed by an elderly person in Palestine according to census data 2017 (16.8% in the West Bank and 14.4% in Gaza Strip). The data indicates that the average size of the households headed by an elderly person is relatively small as it reached 3.7 individuals (3.3 in the West Bank and 4.3 in Gaza Strip), against 5.4 for the households that are not headed by an elderly person.
About One Third of Elderly Females are Widows
93.5% of the elderly males in Palestine are married against 54.0% of the elderly females are married. The percentage of the elderly widowed males reached 5.2% against 37.0% for females in 2017. knowing that the percentage of elderly male widowed in 2007 in Palestine was 7.7%, compared to 42.5% among elderly females.
About 39% of the Elderly have Difficulties\ Disabilities
84,194 of the elderly are with difficulties\ disabilities (39.1% of the total number of elderly in Palestine: 35.2% in the West Bank and 45.7% in Gaza Strip(. The most common difficulties among the elderly in Palestine is the mobility difficulties\ disabilities about 23.9% (19.9% in the West Bank and 30.6% in Gaza Strip) followed by seeing difficulties\ disabilities (22.0%(. Knowing that the percentage of elderly who have difficulty\ disability in 2007 is 34.2% of the elderly in Palestine. 185,156 of the elderly aged 60 years and above are covered by health insurance (86.1%) of the total number of elderly. The elderly with health insurance increased in Gaza Strip, where 97.2% of the elderly were insured, compared with 79.4% in the West Bank.
Illiteracy Rates are Concentrated among the Elderly
Data indicates that there is a high percentage of illiterate elderly in 2017, the percentage of illiteracy for elderly is 25.7% of the total number of elderly persons. They represent about 62.6% of the illiterate persons in Palestine. Needless to note that the illiteracy rate of individuals aged 15 and above does not exceed 3.3% (1.7% males against 5.0% females).
The percentage of the elderly who have not completed any educational stage reached 42.0% (25.7% males and 56.4% females).
The percentage of the elderly who obtained diploma and higher is 15.1% in Palestine. Data on attitude education in 2017 indicates that there is an obvious difference between males and females in educational level where the percentage of the elderly males who had obtained a diploma and higher reached 23.5% against 7.7% for elderly females. The percentage of individuals aged 15 and above who obtained diploma and higher reached 23.1% of the total population that aged 15 and above in Palestine (21.9% males and 24.3% females).
High Disparity in Poverty rates among the Elderly in Gaza Strip compared with the West Bank
The data indicates that the percentage of poverty among the elderly in 2017 reached 26.5% of the total number of elderly persons which is equivalent to 4.8% of the total number of poor people in Palestine, knowing that the percentage of the elderly reached 5.0% of the total population in Palestine. The percentage of poverty among the elderly in the West Bank reached 17.9% against 46.5% in Gaza Strip. knowing that the percentage of poverty among the elderly for 2011 was 22.2% of the total number of elderly persons which is equivalent to 4.7% of the total number of poor people in Palestine,16.5% in the West Bank and 35.5% in the Gaza Strip.
And the percentage of deep poverty among the elderly was 16.2% in 2017, the percentage in the West Bank was 8.3%, against 34.7% in Gaza Strip.