Turkish population is increasingly aging: UN report

Türkiye finds itself confronting the challenges posed by an increasingly aging population, a trend highlighted by recent data indicating that the ratio of elderly citizens to the total population has exceeded 10%, leading to its classification as a “country with a very elderly population” according to U.N. criteria.


According to figures released by the U.N. Population Fund, global demographics are rapidly shifting toward an aging population, with Europe emerging as the continent with the highest proportion of elderly individuals, accounting for 19% of its population.

Türkiye, with a population exceeding 85 million as of the end of 2023, mirrors this global trend, continuing to age in tandem with the rest of the world. Notably, the population aged 65 and over in Türkiye reached 8,722,806 by the end of last year, representing 10.2% of the total population and marking the first time in the history of the Republic that this ratio has surpassed double digits.

With this milestone, Türkiye now falls into the category of “countries with a very elderly population” as per U.N. criteria, signaling the significant demographic shift the country is experiencing.

Population projections paint a stark picture of Türkiye’s aging trajectory, with the ratio of the elderly population to the total population expected to rise to 12.9% by 2030, 16.3% by 2040 and a staggering 22.6% by 2060. Cafer Tufan Yazıcıoğlu, representing the Turkish Retirees Association (TÜED), underscored the rapid pace at which Türkiye’s population is aging compared to other nations.

Yazıcıoğlu emphasized that the United Nations classifies countries with an elderly population ratio of 8-10% as “countries with elderly populations,” indicating that Türkiye’s transition to a ratio of 10.2% last year has propelled it into the category of “countries with a very elderly population.”

As Türkiye grapples with the implications of an aging population, policymakers and stakeholders are tasked with devising strategies to address the diverse needs and challenges associated with this demographic shift, ensuring the well-being and inclusivity of elderly citizens in the country’s social fabric.

Stressing the multifaceted impact of population aging on economic, social, and cultural domains, Yazıcıoğlu said: “Despite prevalent negative perceptions surrounding the elderly, some nations adopt a positive approach and effectively manage this demographic shift. Türkiye’s collaboration with the U.N. Working Group on Aging to formulate a comprehensive human rights agreement for the elderly reflects a commendable step forward. However, while Türkiye’s focus on the elderly and initial actions are promising, they remain insufficient. Immediate legal safeguards must be established to protect the rights of the elderly. Article 10 of our Constitution already mandates positive discrimination in favor of the elderly, and enacting requisite sub-legal regulations in accordance with these provisions will not only enhance the well-being of our elderly population but also contribute to their quality of life.”