UK population continues to age

17 December 2012

The proportion of the UK population that are over the age of 65 has risen slightly, while the proportion below the age of 15 has continued on its downward trend, according to figures from the 2011 Census.

Overall the UK population was estimated to be 63.2 million in 2011, up 7% (4.1 million) from 2001.

The Office for National Statistics says this is the largest rise in the country's population over a 10-year period since the 1961 Census.

Looking at the different age groups, there were 10.4 million people over the age of 65, representing 16% of the population, a slight increase of 0.5 percentage points from 2001. However, comparing the figures to 1911, the proportion of older people aged 65 and over has more than trebled, from 5% to 16%.

The number of young people aged 14 and under has almost halved over the past 100 years, from 31% in 1911 to 18% in 2011. Over the past 10 years, the percentage of the population aged 14 and under has dropped by 1 percentage point.

The ONS admits that the ageing population has "considerable implications for a range of policy issues within the UK, such as pensions and provision of healthcare".

Within the UK, Scotland has the lowest proportion of young people under 15 (16.1%) while Wales has the largest proportion of pensioners (18.4%). Indeed, while Scotland's population has rocketed by 5% since 2001 to reach 5,295,000, there has been a decrease of 69,000 (11%) in the number of children aged between five and 14 over the past decade.

The ONS also revealed today that the most common age at death in England and Wales in 2010 was 85 for men and 89 for women, representing an increase in life span over the past 50 years of 10 years for a man and eight years for a woman.

William Hunter, founder of Hunter Wealth Management, comments: "Britons are healthier and living longer than ever before. But our finances are in much less rude health.

"Longer lifespans will mean a longer retirement. But to ensure that our old age is grey but not grim, we must plan ahead and save harder to build up a sufficient pension pot."

This article was written for our sister website Money Observer

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