International rankings are popular and influential. A common trend is to combine multiple performance measures into a single, composite index, which can reveal how one country is doing relative to others. The field of population ageing research has been no exception to this trend, where a number of composite indices have been created to distil the experience of ageing. This fact sheet examines some of the most notable ageing indices, their stated purposes, methodologies and results.
Ageing indices are published by international organisations, research organisations, and private companies for different reasons. For example, HelpAge International, an NGO that publishes the Global AgeWatch Index, expressly uses the index as an advocacy tool, highlighting key data gaps on ageing and older people at the global level. Others, such as Aegon, a life insurance company, see it as part of their work in the fi eld of retirement research. Ultimately, despite their flaws, such indices can shed light on where a country is performing well and where it lags.