As of mid-year 2023, the elderly account for about 6% of the total Palestinian population, according to a recent report by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) The West Bank is home to around 206,000 elderly individuals, making up 6% of its population, while the Gaza Strip houses approximately 107,000 elderly persons, constituting 5% of its population. While the percentage of elderly individuals is expected to gradually increase in Palestine over the coming years, the report says, it is projected to remain below 6% throughout the current decade, with a more substantial rise anticipated after the mid-2030s. The report also highlights a gender disparity among the elderly population. In mid-2023, there were approximately 152,000 elderly males aged 60 and above, constituting 5% of the total male population in Palestine. In contrast, there were around 161,000 elderly females in the same age group, representing 6% of the total female population. The gender ratio among the elderly stands at 95 males for every 100 females. Moreover, the report reveals that one out of every five households in Palestine is headed by an elderly person. In 2022, 24% of households were headed by an elderly individual, with a relatively small average household size of 3.4 individuals. Marital status among the elderly also varies significantly by gender. While 92% of elderly males in Palestine are married, only 48% of elderly females are married. Additionally, 7% of elderly males are widowed, compared to 42% of elderly females, reflecting a substantial difference in marital status between genders. Approximately 71% of elderly individuals in Palestine are suffering from chronic diseases, the report adds. This percentage is slightly higher in the West Bank (72%) compared to the Gaza Strip (69%). Notably, 76% of elderly females suffer from chronic diseases, while the figure is lower for males at 66%. Smoking habits among the elderly also vary by gender and location. Approximately 21% of the elderly are smokers, with a higher percentage among males (38%) compared to females (5%). In the West Bank, 26% of the elderly are smokers, with a significant gender disparity (45% among males and 8% among females). In the Gaza Strip, the percentage of elderly smokers is lower at 12%, with similar gender differences (25% among males and 1% among females). Regarding educational attainment, data from 2022 indicates that 30% of the elderly population did not complete any educational stage, with a significant disparity between genders (19% among males and 41% among females). Only 17% of the elderly population in Palestine completed an intermediate diploma degree or higher in 2022.
Source: En – Palestine news & Information Agency – WAFA