Age dependency ratio (% of working-age population)

Definition: Age dependency ratio is the ratio of dependents--people younger than 15 or older than 64--to the working-age population--those ages 15-64. Data are shown as the proportion of dependents per 100 working-age population.

Description: The map below shows how Age dependency ratio (% of working-age population) varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is Niger, with a value of 112.97. The country with the lowest value in the world is United Arab Emirates, with a value of 17.75.

Source: World Bank staff estimates using the World Bank's population and age distributions of the United Nations Population Division's World Population Prospects. The World Bank's population estimates are from various sources including the United Nations Population Division's World Population Prospects; census reports and statistical publications from national statistical offices; Eurostat's Demographic Statistics; United Nations Statistical Division, Population and Vital Statistics Report (various years); U.S. Census Bureau: International Database; and Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Statistics and Demography Programme.

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Development Relevance: Patterns of development in a country are partly determined by the age composition of the population. Because different age groups have varying impacts on infrastructure needs, resource use and planning, and impacts on the environment, the age structure of a population is useful for analyzing future policy and planning goals involving infrastructure and development patterns.

Limitations and Exceptions: Because the five-year age group is the cohort unit and five-year period data are used in the United Nations Population Division's World Population Prospects, interpolations to obtain annual data or single age structure may not reflect actual events or age composition. For more information, see the original source.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Dependency ratios capture variations in the proportions of children, elderly people, and working-age people in the population that imply the dependency burden that the working-age population bears in relation to children and the elderly. But dependency ratios show only the age composition of a population, not economic dependency. Some children and elderly people are part of the labor force, and many working-age people are not. Age structure in World Bank's population estimates is based on the age structure in United Nations Population Division's World Population Prospects. For more information, see the original source.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual

General Comments: Relevance to gender indicator: this indicator implies the dependency burden that the working-age population bears in relation to children and the elderly. Many times single or widowed women who are the sole caregiver of a household have a high dependency ratio.