New population figures show that the number of older people is increasing faster than other age groups, with big implications for how we live and work.
The traditional working age population increased at a slower rate than all other age groups while the fastest growing population was aged 65 and over, according to figures for 2019 from the Office for National Statistics.
The figures have big implications for the state pension age and for policy relating to older people.
They show the population aged 65 years and over increased by 2.3 million between mid-2009 and mid-2019, from 16.2% of the total population in mid-2009, to 18.5% in mid-2019 – the highest level of growth of any broad age group. This was the case across the UK and compared to a 3.2% increase in the working age population.
Broken down, the figures show a 22.9% increase in the number of people over 64, a 24.7% increase in the number of people aged over 70 and a 2.5% increase in the number of people aged over 85.
The average age in England has now reached 40. The local authorities with the highest median age were North Norfolk (54.3), Rother (53.1), East Lindsey (52.4) and South Hams (51.5).
Lily Parsey, Global Policy and Influencing Manager at the International Longevity Centre UK, said: “A growing older population could mean more older workers, more older consumers and more older people contributing to society through volunteering and caring. There really could be a longevity dividend for us all.
“But the reality is, Government remains woefully underprepared for ageing. And we aren’t doing enough to tackle inequalities in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy. Our social care system is failing older people whilst younger people are saving too little for old age.
“A growing older population ought to be good news for individuals and society – but to realise this, we need to radically rethink the way we work, care and play and adapt to the needs of an ageing society.”