Average Retirement Age Statistics from Around the Globe

Here in the UK, the current State Pension age is 66 years for both men and women. However, this will start gradually increasing again from 6 May 2026.

The UK State Pension age is constantly under review, meaning that it could change again in the future depending on different factors, such as changes in life expectancy.

When the UK State Pension age increased from 65 to 66 in December 2018 so that it reached 66 by October 2020, it caused quite a stir. But perhaps not quite so much as when French President Emmanuel Macron’s made the move to raise the French retirement age from 62 to 64, sparking nationwide protests.

It is actually quite interesting to look at the retirement age in different countries. Many may find the numbers quite surprising, especially the way retirement age statistics vary so much from one country to the next.

Current retirement age vs effective retirement age

It is also interesting to compare the current retirement age in different countries, to the effective retirement ages.

The ‘effective’ retirement age refers to the average age that people actually leave the workforce after 40 years of age. This tends to vary between men and women, and will be driven from country to country by a range of factors.

For example, in the UK, the effective retirement age for men is 64, and for women it is 63.

Factors contributing to variations between the current and effective retirement age include differences in career commencement ages, the fact that some industries support earlier retirement, and variations in market demands and policies.

Some people also choose to retire early because of personal reasons or a lack of suitable work. Conversely, others will choose to remain employed for financial or other reasons.

How do retirement age statistics vary around the globe?

The OECD 2021 report reveals the current and effective retirement ages across 45 countries in 2020.

According to the report, the highest current retirement age in the world is 67 years and applies to Iceland, Israel and Norway.

However, in all three of these countries, the effective retirement ages are lower at 66 for men and 64 for women in Iceland; 65 in Israel, and 65 for men and 63 for women in Norway.

On the other side of the coin, Saudi Arabia holds the lowest current retirement age at just 47 years with full pension benefits. Turkey is close behind at 52 years. But both have an effective retirement age that is considerably higher than the current retirement age, those being 59 for Saudi Arabia, and 61 and 59 for men and women respectively in Turkey.

Discrepancies between the retirement age in different countries is borne out when we compare Asia with Europe.

For example, China, India and South Korea have official minimum retirement ages in the late 50s to early 60s. However, workers there tend to remain in the workforce into their late 60s.

However, in most European countries, as well as in the USA and Canada, workers tend to retire earlier on average than the minimum retirement age.

What’s more, nearly all the countries with a measured effective retirement age for women saw them leave the workforce earlier than men. This is with the exception of Estonia, Finland, France, Luxemburg and Argentina, where women retire later than men on average.

Country Current retirement age Effective retirement age (men) Effective retirement age (women)
Argentina 65 62 63
Austria 65 62 61
Belgium 65 61 60
Brazil 62 62 59
Canada 65 64 63
Chile 65 65 61
China 60 66 61
Colombia 62 67 60
Costa Rica 62 67 62
Czech Republic 64 63 62
Denmark 66 64 N/A
Estonia 64 64 65
Finland 65 63 64
France 65 60 61
Germany 66 63 N/A
Greece 62 61 58
Hungary 65 62 60
Iceland 67 66 64
India 58 67 N/A
Indonesia 57 69 N/A
Ireland 66 64 N/A
Israel 67 65 N/A
Italy 62 62 61
Japan 65 68 67
Korea 62 66 65
Latvia 64 66 65
Lithuania 64 63 N/A
Luxemburg 62 59 60
Mexico 65 66 63
Netherlands 66 64 63
New Zealand 65 68 66
Norway 67 65 63
Poland 65 62 60
Portugal 65 65 63
Russia 62 62 60
Saudi Arabia 47 59 N/A
Slovakia 63 60 N/A
Slovenia 62 62 61
South Africa 60 60 56
Spain 65 61 60
Sweden 65 66 65
Switzerland 65 65 64
Turkey 52 61 59
United Kingdom 66 64 63
United States 66 65 N/A

 

The reason for these variations in retirement age statistics can be put down to cultural differences, labour force participation rates, and also sometimes the way the pension systems operate across different countries.

Given the ageing demographics in many developed countries and a continued need for labour, it is likely that many countries will be reassessing retirement ages over the next few years. In fact, the OECD projects that the average effective retirement age will increase by two years by the mid-2060s.

Looking for retirement planning advice? Talk to the specialist retirement advisers at PMW.

At Partridge Muir & Warren, we have been advising clients on their retirement options for more than half a century. Our advice is independent, widely trusted and focused on the best interests and personal aspirations of our clients.

If you would like to discuss your retirement options, you are welcome to get in touch with our friendly retirement planning team to arrange a no-obligation complimentary consultation.