Poverty increases among Turkey’s elderly population 

Poverty among Turkey’s elderly population is on the rise, according to the Turkish Statistics Institute’s (TÜİK) recent report. Citizens above the age of 65 experiencing poverty increased by seven percent in the last four years. 

Duvar English

The state-run Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) on March 27 released its “Data on the Elderly Report” for 2023. According to the report, poverty among the country’s elderly population reached 21.7 percent following years of steady increase.  

The population aged over 65 increased by 21.4 percent in five years to 8,722,806. If the demographic trend continues, the elderly will constitute 25.6 percent of the Turkish population in 2080. 

Since 2019, the poverty rate among the elderly has risen by 7.5 percent, and their workforce participation rate has increased from 12.0 percent to 12.2 percent. 

The poverty line corresponds to 60 percent of the median disposable personal income. According to the 2023 data, 21.7 of the elderly population fell behind the line. This percentage was 14.2 in 2019, meaning a 7.5-point increase. 

The overall Turkish population’s poverty rate increased by 0.4 in these five years. The discrepancy revealed an increased load on the elderly population regarding the cost of life. 

Poverty was more widespread in the women elderly population. 22.4 percent of the women elderly experienced poverty, whereas 20.7 percent of the men did.  

According to the workforce statistics, 57.7 percent of the working elderly population were employed in the agriculture sector. 

Chart taken from TÜİK's workforce statistics shows the workforce participation (top), employment rate (middle), and unemployment rate (bottom) of Turkey's 65+ population. Yellow bars indicate the total population, blue men, and red women. 


The dependency rate of the elderly population rose to 15.0 percent in 2023. The data refers to the number of elderly corresponding to every 100 people in the working age.  

The three provinces with the lowest elderly population were the southeastern provinces of Şırnak, Hakkari, and Urfa. 

Turkey was 67th among the 184 countries with its elderly population. 

Prof. Dr. Aziz Çelik and columnist for the daily BirGün interpreted the TÜİK data. The rise in poverty among the elderly was not surprising, held the expert. 

“The shrinking pensions are the most important reason for the increase in elderly poverty,” he added.