This page aims to answer some frequently asked questions on the map. Please let us know if you have any more.
High coverage pensions are defined as those where most of the older population are covered, while low coverage pensions are defined as those which only cover a minority.
Terms such as "means-tested" and "pensions-tested" aren't satisfactory for getting a sense of coverage. For example, the South Africa social pension is means-tested to exclude the wealthy so includes the majority of older people. The social pension in India is also means-tested, but only reaches a little over 12 per cent of older people.
The definitions are not a science so involve some level of interpretation. If you'd like to know more about why we've defined countries as such then please contact us at email@example.com.
The purpose of the map is to show the large range of countries which have social pensions and in which ones they play a significant role in the pension system. The map shouldn't be expected to give a clear view of where coverage of pensions is low or high as it does not include contributory pensions.
For example, a country such as Germany has no distinct social pension (to our knowledge) but still has high coverage of pensions. This is because it uses the social insurance system to cover even the poorest people through a more complex system which also indirectly involves non-contributory benefits.
A key lesson, however, is that these formal systems for social security are not successful at reaching the poor in developing countries which have high levels of informality. More information on this can be found in our page on pension systems.