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Elderly People in the Palestinian Territory

Elderly People in the Palestinian Territory represent 4.4% of the total population mid 2009   01/10/2009

On the Anniversary day of Elderly, 01/10/2009

Elderly People in the Palestinian Territory represent 4.4% of the total population mid 2009

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics presents this release to highlight and to draw attention to the situation of the elderly in the Palestinian Territory.  The elderly are defined as people aged 60 years and over. The following briefly describes the main indicators of elderly people in the Palestinian Territory.


– The elderly represented 4.4% of the population in the Palestinian Territory mid 2009. It was noticed that the statistics varied by region; the elderly were 4.9% in the West Bank compared with 3.7% in Gaza Strip and higher for females than for males, 5.1% and 3.8% respectively, while the sex ratio is 78.3 males per 100 females.

–   Life expectancy for old women is higher than old men in general and this is referred to health and biological factors. Life expectancy in the Palestinian Territory is 70.5 years for males and 73.2 years for females in 2009, and is expected to reach 72.0 years for males and 75.0 years for females in 2015.

–  The elderly head 15.4% of households. While the mean household size in the West Bank was 5.8 persons in 2007, households headed by elderly people were comprised of 3.9 persons, compared to 5.8 for households headed by other than  elderly.

–  In 2007, 7.6% of the elderly people in the West Bank are widowed males compared to 47.6 % of elderly who are widowed females. This difference between elderly males widowed and elderly females widowed is related to the increase in life expectancy of females compared with males in all countries and the probability of remarriage for males after the death of his wife is higher than of females remarrying after the death of her husband.

–  13.7% of the elderly participated in the labor force in the Palestinian Territory in second Quarter 2009 ; about 52.8% of Palestinian elderly employees are self-employed and a small percentage of  Palestinian elderly employees are wage employees.

–  Data revealed that elderly people in the Palestinian Territory did not have good education opportunities; 66.8% of elderly had not completed any education stage; this represents about 49.4% of the illiterate individuals aged 15 years and over.  Data showed that only 7.0% have completed a associate diploma. A significant variation exists between elderly males and females; 48.8% of elderly males did not complete any educational stage compared with 80.9% among females. This reflects the lack of opportunities due to involvement of family members, particularly females, in agriculture activities.   

– 26.3% of the elderly are disabled compared with 5.3% for all persons in 2007 in the West Bank (excluding those parts of Jerusalem which were annexed by Israel in 1967); 16.4% of disabled elderly are suffering from visually disability and 14.7% of elderly are suffering from moving disability.

–  49.8% of the elderly are under the poverty line, representing about 3.2% of all poor people in the Palestinian Territory, with a significant variation between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It reached 39.5% in the West Bank and 75.3% in Gaza Strip, based on the results of the poverty survey 2007.

–  74.8% of elderly people watch television at least once a week; of which 80.5% are in the West Bank and 62.6% in Gaza Strip in 2009. 

–  44.7% of elderly people listen to the radio at least once a week; (48.0% in Gaza Strip and 43.2% in the West Bank). More elderly males listen to the radio than elderly females, 46.4% and 43.3%, respectively in 2009.

– 19.0% of elderly people can read the newspapers and magazines at least once a week and can write.  The regional variations in this regard are in favor of the West Bank at 24.2% compared to 7.6% for Gaza Strip in 2009

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