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Charted: Retirement Age by Country

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charting the world's retirement age by country

Charted: Retirement Age by Country

The retirement landscape can look completely different depending on what country you’re in. And charting the retirement age by country reveals a lot of differences in the the makeup of a labor force, both for economic and cultural reasons.

This graphic delves into the current and effective retirement ages across 45 nations in 2020, based on comprehensive data from the OECD 2021 report.

Defining Retirement Ages

Before we dive into the numbers, let’s clarify the measurements used by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):

  • The current retirement age is the age at which individuals can retire without penalty to pension after completing a full career starting from age 22.
  • The effective retirement age refers to the average age of exit from the labor force for workers aged 40 years or more.

Many countries have seen workers effectively retire earlier or later than the current retirement age. This variance can arise due to a multitude in factors including differences in career start ages, some industries offering earlier retirements or benefits for later commitments, or countries facilitating different workforce exits due to market demands and policies.

Some people also choose to retire early due to personal reasons or a lack of available work, receiving a smaller pension or in some cases forgoing it entirely. Likewise, some people choose to stay employed if they are able to find work.

Retirement Age by Country in 2020

Here’s a snapshot of the current and effective retirement ages by country in 2020:

CountryRetirement age
(Current)
Retirement age
(Effective)
Retirement age
(Women, Effective)
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น Austria656261
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Belgium656160
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada656463
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Chile656561
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ด Colombia626760
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ท Costa Rica626762
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Czech Republic646362
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Denmark6664N/A
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ช Estonia646465
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Finland656364
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France656061
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany6663N/A
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ท Greece626158
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ Hungary656260
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ Iceland676664
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช Ireland6664N/A
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Israel6765N/A
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy626261
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan656867
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท Korea, Republic of626665
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ป Latvia646665
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡น Lithuania6463N/A
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ Luxembourg625960
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ Mexico656663
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Netherlands666463
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ New Zealand656866
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด Norway676563
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Poland656260
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น Portugal656563
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Slovakia6360N/A
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Slovenia626261
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain656160
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช Sweden656665
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ Switzerland656564
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท Tรผrkiye526159
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United Kingdom666463
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United States6665N/A
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡บ European Union (Average)6463N/A
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท Argentina656263
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท Brazil626259
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China (People's Republic of)606661
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ India5867N/A
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Indonesia5769N/A
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ Russia626260
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Saudi Arabia4759N/A
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa606056

Three countries had the highest current retirement age at 67 years, Iceland, Israel, and Norway, but all had slightly lower effective retirement ages on average. On the flip side, Saudi Arabia had the lowest current retirement age at only 47 years with full pension benefits. Only Tรผrkiye at 52 years was close, and notably both had much higher effective retirement ages on average.

Discrepancies between different regions are clear across the board. Many Asian countries including China, India, and South Korea have official minimum retirement ages in the early 60s and late 50s, but see workers stay in the workforce well into their late 60s. Meanwhile, most European countries as well as the U.S. and Canada have more workers retire earlier than minimum retirement ages on average.

Almost all of the countries with measured effective retirement ages for women also saw them exit the workforce earlier than men. This can be the result of cultural gender norms, labor force participation rates, and even the setup of pension systems in different countries.

The five exceptions in the dataset where women retired later than men? Argentina, Estonia, Finland, France, and Luxembourg.

Looking to the Future

In 2023, France sparked controversy by raising its early retirement age by two years. This decision triggered widespread strikes and riots and ignited debates about the balance between economic sustainability and individual well-being.

Given aging demographics in many developed countries and a continued need for labor, this isn’t expected to be the only country to reassess retirement. The OECD projects a two-year increase in the average effective retirement age by the mid-2060s.

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United States

Mapped: What You Need to Earn to Own a Home in 50 American Cities

What does it take to own a home in the U.S. in 2023? Here’s a look at the salary needed for home ownership in the top 50 metro areas.

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A cropped map of the U.S. with the median home price as well as the salary needed to own a home 50 American cities.

What You Need to Earn to Own a Home in 50 American Cities

Once a fundamental part of the American dream, the ability to own a home is drifting farther and farther away for many Americans.

Between skyrocketing prices, stagnating wages, and now rising interest rates, the deck seems to be increasingly stacked against home ownership.

Using May 2023 data tabulated by Home Sweet Home, we map out the annual salary needed to afford a 30-year mortgage (at 6.37%) to buy a home in Americaโ€™s 50 most populous metropolitan areas.

The monthly minimum mortgage payment includes taxes and insurance as well, and is capped at roughly one-third of the income. This analysis also assumes that the homeowner will put down a 20% down payment.

The Least and Most Affordable American Cities to Own a Home

At the top of the list, and at the very west of the country, San Jose is the least affordable city to own a home for the average American.

One would have to earn at least $374,000 a year to afford a $1.6 million dollar home in the city.

To put those numbers into perspective, the median American annual income is $75,000, about one-fifth whatโ€™s required to buy a home in San Jose.

Hereโ€™s a look at the annual earnings needed to afford a home in all 50 largest cities in the U.S., ranked from least to most affordable.

RankMetro AreaStateMedian Home PriceAnnual Salary
1San JoseCalifornia$1,618,400$373,696
2San FranciscoCalifornia$1,192,600$282,167
3San DiegoCalifornia$880,000$209,110
4Los AngelesCalifornia$746,800$181,106
5SeattleWashington$699,300$170,340
6BostonMassachusetts$644,400$165,239
7New York CityNew York$577,300$160,233
8DenverColorado$636,100$150,622
9Washington, D.C.N/A$557,200$139,911
10MiamiFlorida$560,000$137,574
11PortlandOregon$556,800$136,147
12Riverside/San
Bernardino
California$550,000$133,607
13AustinTexas$467,900$128,995
14SacramentoCalifornia$500,000$125,304
15Salt Lake CityUtah$522,700$122,717
16ProvidenceRhode Island$417,000$112,281
17OrlandoFlorida$419,900$104,772
18DallasTexas$372,400$103,460
19PhoenixArizona$439,700$103,112
20RaleighNorth Carolina$420,000$102,572
21Las VegasNevada$431,400$101,310
22TampaFlorida$390,000$97,387
23MinneapolisMichigan$361,500$94,466
24HartfordConnecticut$314,900$93,861
25CharlotteNorth Carolina$387,200$93,735
26JacksonvilleFlorida$370,000$93,422
27BaltimoreMaryland$357,800$93,378
28NashvilleTennessee$385,800$93,168
29ChicagoIllinois$321,000$92,868
30HoustonTexas$327,000$91,826
31MilwaukeeWisconsin$339,600$89,752
32AtlantaGeorgia$354,300$89,198
33RichmondVirginia$362,300$88,769
34San AntonioTexas$320,500$88,683
35PhiladelphiaPennsylvania$315,300$87,293
36Virginia BeachVirginia$313,200$79,336
37Kansas CityMissouri$291,000$76,147
38ColumbusOhio$284,700$76,133
39IndianapolisIndiana$289,300$71,409
40New OrleansLouisiana$265,200$68,946
41MemphisTennessee$268,600$68,005
42BirminghamAlabama$276,500$67,773
43CincinnatiOhio$252,200$66,260
44BuffaloNew York$206,800$63,386
45St LouisMissouri$231,100$63,260
46DetroitMichigan$227,000$62,758
47LouisvilleKentucky$246,000$62,741
48Oklahoma CityOklahoma$227,300$62,161
49ClevelandOhio$191,400$55,515
50PittsburghPennsylvania$175,000$50,316
National$371,200$97,204

Other Californian cities, San Francisco (ranked 2nd), San Diego (3rd), and Los Angeles (4th) all require an annual income of at least $180,000 to attempt home ownership within their metropolitan boundaries.

Boston (ranked 6th) and New York (ranked 7th) represent unaffordability on the East Coast, both requiring at least $160,000 a year to buy homes there.

Itโ€™s not just the coasts that are expensive however. To buy a home in Denver (ranked 8th) and Salt Lake City (15th) means earning more than $120,000 a year.

However, cities in the Midwest and South, like Pittsburgh, Detroit, Oklahoma City, and Louisville, are far more affordable, requiring less than $63,000 a year to buy a home.

Interest Rates Rock Home Ownership Chances

Aside from the obvious price differences in housing markets, a key factor that has elevated income requirements across the board is the rapid rise in interest rates in the last year. In fact the average 30-year mortgage has pushed past 7%, the highest itโ€™s been since the 2000s.

This means that while the median price of a house in San Jose has actually come down between 2022 and 2023, the minimum monthly payment has increased from $7,717 to $8,720 this year.

RankMetro AreaStateMedian Home PriceMonthly Payment
1San JoseCalifornia$1,618,400$8,720
2San FranciscoCalifornia$1,192,600$6,584
3San DiegoCalifornia$880,000$4,879
4Los AngelesCalifornia$746,800$4,226
5SeattleWashington$699,300$3,975
6BostonMassachusetts$644,400$3,856
7New York CityNew York$577,300$3,739
8DenverColorado$636,100$3,515
9Washington, D.C.N/A$557,200$3,265
10MiamiFlorida$560,000$3,210
11PortlandOregon$556,800$3,177
12Riverside/San
Bernardino
California$550,000$3,118
13AustinTexas$467,900$3,010
14SacramentoCalifornia$500,000$2,924
15Salt Lake CityUtah$522,700$2,863
16ProvidenceRhode Island$417,000$2,620
17OrlandoFlorida$419,900$2,445
18DallasTexas$372,400$2,414
19PhoenixArizona$439,700$2,406
20RaleighNorth Carolina$420,000$2,393
21Las VegasNevada$431,400$2,364
22TampaFlorida$390,000$2,272
23MinneapolisMichigan$361,500$2,204
24HartfordConnecticut$314,900$2,190
25CharlotteNorth Carolina$387,200$2,187
26JacksonvilleFlorida$370,000$2,180
27BaltimoreMaryland$357,800$2,179
28NashvilleTennessee$385,800$2,174
29ChicagoIllinois$321,000$2,167
30HoustonTexas$327,000$2,143
31MilwaukeeWisconsin$339,600$2,094
32AtlantaGeorgia$354,300$2,081
33RichmondVirginia$362,300$2,071
34San AntonioTexas$320,500$2,069
35PhiladelphiaPennsylvania$315,300$2,037
36Virginia BeachVirginia$313,200$1,851
37Kansas CityMissouri$291,000$1,777
38ColumbusOhio$284,700$1,776
39IndianapolisIndiana$289,300$1,666
40New OrleansLouisiana$265,200$1,609
41MemphisTennessee$268,600$1,587
42BirminghamAlabama$276,500$1,581
43CincinnatiOhio$252,200$1,546
44BuffaloNew York$206,800$1,479
45St LouisMissouri$231,100$1,476
46DetroitMichigan$227,000$1,464
47LouisvilleKentucky$246,000$1,464
48Oklahoma CityOklahoma$227,300$1,450
49ClevelandOhio$191,400$1,295
50PittsburghPennsylvania$175,000$1,174
National$371,200$2,268

So to afford a median-priced home in the country, an American needs to earn closer to $100,000 a year, up from $75,500 in 2022. And even then, they would be priced out of owning a home in nearly half of the 50 largest cities in the country.

As a result Americans may yet further delay home ownership. Renting is now a far more attractive option, thanks to the biggest difference between rent and mortgages in over 50 years.

Where Does This Data Come From?

Source: Home Sweet Home (HSH).

Note: HSH used different sources for their median home prices, mortgage rate, property taxes and home insurance figures for their analysis. Please visit their website for more information.

Other: If other personal debts exceed 8% of one’s given monthly gross income, this may increase the salary needed to qualify for a mortgage.

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