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The situation of older persons in Myanmar: results from the 2012 survey of older persons (Revised 2014)

Publication Abstract

Knodel, John E. 2014. The situation of older persons in Myanmar: results from the 2012 survey of older persons (Revised 2014). Yangon: HelpAge International Myanmar country office. (in collaboration with HelpAge international staff)

The situation of older people in Myanmar has been extensively documented for the first time, with findings published in a new report today by HelpAge International in collaboration with Myanmar's Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement. The new information underlines both the contributions of older people to society and challenges of a rapidly ageing population in Myanmar.

HelpAge International undertook the first comprehensive survey of its kind with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). The report offers valuable insights into the demographic trends driving rapid ageing in the country, as well as the social characteristics, income and economic activity, living arrangements, material well-being, health, and family support of older people in Myanmar.

The survey found that, even by the standards of Southeast Asia, older people in Myanmar remain exceptionally close to their families. While they often receive extensive financial support from family, the country's grandparents are making a significant economic contribution by continuing to work themselves and by looking after their grandchildren to enable their adult children to work. Dramatically shrinking family sizes and increasing urban migration however will soon put these traditional means of support under strain.

Myanmar's population has recently begun a phase of rapid ageing: while older people currently account for about 9 per cent of the country's population, by 2050 one quarter of the population will be aged 60 or older.

These findings highlight the critical need for government and society to plan ahead. This is to anticipate decreased family support and increased isolation, especially among older women, the majority of whom are widowed because they live longer than men.

Public Access Link

Country of focus: Myanmar.

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