A recent study has highlighted the significant increases in retirement ages across various countries, with the UK experiencing a much higher rise compared to the USA.

According to data from the OECD spanning 2000 to 2020, the UK ranks 22nd globally with a 4.45 percent increase in retirement age, while the USA places 28th with a 4.01 percent increase during the same period.

The study, conducted by AgeCalculator.com, aimed to identify which countries have seen the highest increases in retirement ages over the past two decades.

It analysed OECD data to understand these trends, revealing that many Western nations, including Australia, Canada, and the United States, feature prominently in the top 30.

At the top of the list is Bulgaria, which has seen a 13.26 percent increase in its average retirement age, rising from 56 years in 2000 to 63 years in 2020. Estonia follows with an 11.93 percent increase, and Latvia ranks third with a 10.57% increase. In these countries, the retirement age rose to 65 years by 2020, starting from 58 and 59 years, respectively, in 2000.

New Zealand is the only non-European country in the top 10, ranking fourth with a 9.84 percent increase. The country’s retirement age jumped from 61 to 67 years over the 20-year period, making it the highest retirement age among the top-ranking nations.

Hungary closes the top five with an 8.56 percent increase in retirement age, followed by Romania (8.42%) and Slovenia (8.35%). The list continues with Portugal, the Netherlands, and Lithuania rounding out the top 10.

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Increase in Retirement Age

Rank Country Retirement Age in 2000 Retirement Age in 2020 Change (%)
1 Bulgaria 56 63 13.26%
2 Estonia 58 65 11.93%
3 Latvia 59 65 10.57%
4 New Zealand 61 67 9.84%
5 Hungary 56 60 8.56%
6 Romania 60 65 8.42%
7 Slovenia 56 61 8.35%
8 Portugal 59 64 7.92%
9 The Netherlands 59 63 7.65%
10 Lithuania 59 63 7.57%

A spokesperson for AgeCalculator.com commented on these findings, stating: “The trend of increasing retirement age across many nations reflects a complex interplay of various factors. These include longer life expectancies due to medical advancements, economic pressures preventing comfortable retirement due to rising living costs, and shifting demographics such as declining birth rates and aging populations.”

The data shows a notable trend among European countries, especially in Eastern Europe, where retirement ages have risen significantly. The first Western European country on the list is Portugal, followed by the Netherlands in eighth place. Further down, in 15th place, Italy emerges as another Western country with a considerable increase in retirement age.

This study underscores the evolving landscape of retirement, highlighting the need for individuals and policymakers to adapt to these changes to ensure financial stability and wellbeing in later years.






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.