Technical Specifications: Median age (years)

Indicator name
(English / Spanish)
Median age (years)
Mediana de edad (en años)
Indicator ID Age_Median
Domain Sociodemographic
Subdomain Demographic
Definition Age that divides the population in two parts of equal size, that is, there are as many persons with ages above the median as there are with ages below the median.
Unit Years
Measure Index
Type of statistics Corrected / Predicted
Purpose

This indicator reports the age distribution of a population. It helps to assess demographic trends and changes, such as the aging of a country or given geographic area. It is applied in the formulation and evaluation of health and social security policies, among others.

Method of estimation

For countries with a population greater than 90 thousand inhabitants, the figures are estimates from the United Nations, based on data that represent values estimated as of July 1st, obtained by linear interpolation of the corresponding five-year population projections of the United Nations, using the medium-variant projections.

For countries with less than 90 thousand inhabitants, the figures are estimates from the US Census Bureau International Database. The US Census Bureau population projections are based on the cohort component method.

Interpretation example

The median age of a country in 2018 was 28.5 years, that is, it is estimated that, for that year, the number of inhabitants who were under 28.5 years old is equal to the number of inhabitants who they were older.

In 2018, the median age in country A was 29 years, while in country B, it was 35 years, indicating that the latter country has an older population.

Disaggregated PAHO indicator n/a
Limitations

The international comparability of this indicator may be limited due to factors such as the quality of population censuses, demographic surveys, and the national civil registration systems on the basis of which estimates are made. One of these factors is the accuracy of the reported age.

Estimated figures may differ from the statistics of countries due to factors such as methodological differences, for example, to produce population estimates and projections.

Data source

For countries with a population greater than 90 thousand inhabitants:
United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects. Available in:United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects. Available from: https://population.un.org/wpp/

For countries with a population of less than 90 thousand inhabitants:
Census Bureau of the United States of America. International database. Available from: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/international-programs/about/idb.html

Ideal data source
  • Civil registry with full coverage
  • Population census
PAHO update periodicity Annual
Link to SDG

n/a

References
PAHO Contact Andrea Gerger, gergeran@paho.org
Update date August 13, 2021