The world celebrates the International Day of Older Persons on October 1st of each year in recognition of their efforts and to highlight the significant contributions made by the elderly in the society, as well as to raise awareness of the problems, obstacles and challenges that the elderly face.
5% of the population in Palestine aged 60 years and above
The Palestinian society is considered a young society where the percentage of young people is high and the percentage of the elderly is relatively low. In mid-year 2019, the number of the elderly aged 60 years and above reached 257,151 persons (5%): 169,503 persons (6%) in the West Bank and 87,648 persons (4%) in Gaza Strip. Even though, the percentage of the elderly will be increasing during the coming years in Palestine, their percentage will remain relatively low and would not exceed 5% during the current decade. It is expected to start increasing after the mid of next decade.
Moreover, Palestine is witnessing a noticeable improvement in life expectancy since the beginning of the last decade of the previous century, where life expectancy has increased about 6-8 years during the last two decades. In particular life expectancy increased for both males and females from 67 years in 1992 to 72.9 years for males and 75.2 years for females in mid of the year 2019. The life expectancy is expected to increase during the coming years. The increase of life expectancy rate at birth resulted in the increase of the elderly number in Palestine which requires studying and researching the elderly situation in Palestine.
Increase of the Elderly Females Percentage against the Elderly Males Percentage
The number of the elderly males aged 60 years and above in mid-year 2019 in Palestine reached about 122 thousand, representing 5% of the total number of the elderly males in Palestine, compared to 135 thousand elderly females, representing 6% of the total number of females, with a sex ratio of 91 males per 100 females.
One Household out of Six Households is Headed by an Elderly Person
Census data for the year 2017, showed that 16% of households are headed by an elderly person in Palestine (17% in the West Bank and 14% in Gaza Strip). The data indicated that the average size of the households headed by an elderly person is relatively small as it reached 3.7 individuals (3.3 in the West Bank and 4.3 in Gaza Strip) against 5.4 for the households that are not headed by an elderly person.
About One Third of the Elderly Females are Widows
94% of the elderly males in Palestine are married against 54% of the elderly females are married. The percentage of the elderly widowed males reached 5% against 37% for the elderly widowed females in 2017, knowing that the percentage of the elderly males who were widowed in 2007 in Palestine was 8%, compared to 43% among the elderly females.
About 39% of the Elderly have Difficulties/ Disabilities 
Census data for the year 2017 showed that 84,194 of the elderly are with difficulties/disabilities (39% of the total number of the elderly in Palestine: 35% in the West Bank and 46% in Gaza Strip. As for the types of difficulties/disabilities, the most common difficulties/disabilities among the elderly in Palestine was the mobility difficulties/disabilities which reached 24% (20% in the West Bank and 31% in Gaza Strip) followed by seeing difficulties/disabilities (22%(. It is worth mentioning that the percentage of the elderly with difficulties/disabilities in 2007 was 34% of the elderly in Palestine. Furthermore, the census data for the year 2017 indicated that 185,156 of the elderly aged 60 years and above are covered by health insurance representing (86%) of the total number of the elderly, out of which 97% in Gaza Strip while 79% in the West Bank.
15% of the elderly in Palestine hold an intermediate diploma and higher
Data showed that the percentage of the elderly who did not complete any educational stage reached 42% (26% males and 56% females).While the percentage of the elderly who completed diploma degrees and higher did not exceed 15%.
Educational status data for the year 2017 showed that there is a marked difference in percentage between males and females regarding educational attainment levels. In a sense, the percentage of the elderly males who obtained diploma and higher in Palestine reached 24% against 8% for the elderly females. Also, the percentage of individuals aged 18 years and above who obtained diploma and higher reached 26% of the total population that aged 18 years and above in Palestine (25% for males and 27% for females).
Variation in Participation Rates of the Elderly in Labor Market in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
Data showed that the percentage of the elderly participation in labor force during the year 2018 was 13% (16% in the West Bank against 7% in Gaza Strip).
Around Three Quarters of the Elderly Own at Least One Mobile Phone
The data of the Socio-Economic Conditions Survey 2018 showed that the percentage of the elderly aged 60 years and above of those who own a mobile phone or a smartphone reached 72% in Palestine (74% in the West Bank and 68% in Gaza strip). Moreover and as for the percentage distribution by sex, it reached 59% for the elderly females against 86% for the elderly males. The data of the survey on internet use among the elderly aged 60 years and above showed that the percentage of the elderly who use internet anywhere was 27% in Palestine (29% in the West Bank and 23% in Gaza Strip). While the percentage distribution by sex showed that 16% for the elderly females against 38% for the elderly males.
Variation in Poverty Rates among the Elderly in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
Data indicated that the percentage of poverty among the elderly in 2017 reached 27% of the total number of the elderly which is equivalent to 5% of the total number of the poor people in Palestine. The percentage of poverty among the elderly in the West Bank reached 18% against 47% in Gaza Strip. Knowing that the percentage of poverty among the elderly for 2011 was 22% of the total number of the poor people in Palestine (17% in the West Bank and 36% in Gaza Strip).
And the percentage of deep poverty among the elderly was 16% in 2017 (8% in the West Bank and 35% in Gaza Strip).
The Elderly Spend around 60% of their Day Time in Personal Care and Welfare
Furthermore, time use survey 2012/2013 indicated that the elderly spend an average of 14 hours and 26 minutes in doing activities related to personal care like ( sleeping, eating, drinking, personal and health care and religious habits and worshiping), They also spend around 4 hours in commuting with other and participating in their local community like (Family visits and participating in happy times (e.g. weddings) and sad times (e.g. funerals). In addition to that, they spend around one hour and three minutes in providing services for the local community and helping households through carrying out voluntary activities.
Source: Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics