In less than 25 years, a quarter of the UK population will be made up of people aged 65 and older, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.
There were one million more over-65s in the UK in 2007 compared with 1982, a 16% rise from 8.5 million to 9.5 million. The ONS said the figure is projected to rise to 16.1 million by 2032, 23% of the estimated 71 million population.
The fastest-growing age group is the over-85s, which more than doubled in the past 25 years and is expected to double again by 2032, national statistician Karen Dunnell said. The over-85s made up 1.1% of the 1982 UK population but had risen by 680,000 to 1.3 million (2.1%) in 2007.
The ONS report Population Trends said there are likely to be 3.1 million over-85s by 2032.
Mrs Dunnell said this figure was important, as the over-85s tend to use public services more and be more dependent on family. The report found people aged 16–64 made up 65% of the 2007 UK population, up from 63% in 1982. The ONS projects this will fall to 60% by 2032, in part because the proportion of under-16s has fallen.
Kate Jopling, head of public affairs for the charity Help the Aged, said: “To effectively cope with an ageing population, we must start responding to demographic changes now. Our health and social care services should be reformed as a matter of urgency, mandatory retirement ages must be banned and legislation against ageism must be brought into force without delay.”
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