I was watching a movie the other day, and I thought about aged people; how much respect and appreciation they deserve. In many countries, the elderly are considered a burden for the economy. Well, I guess it’s easier to criticise them than recognise the tremendous effort and hard work they have put in to support their economies and families. Reaching that age should make a person proud and should represent tranquillity, rest and the opportunity to share wisdom maybe by teaching the youth how not to make mistakes that one once made.
On the other hand, each economy needs working people to support the retired by means of taxes and pension contributions. So, the trend ideally should be the same for those getting older and those reaching working ages.
England’s and London’s population:
There are some considerations before analysing data from the Office for National Statistics:
- Population Change is measured by Natural Change and Net Migration. (Natural change = #births – #deaths) (Net migration -people moving in/out for more than 12 months = #immigrants – #emigrants)
- The working population or labour force are (typically) in the range of 16-64 years old. (Although, not all are economically active, it is in that range that most employees fall).
- The last UK census was carried out in 2011, the figures for the following years are estimations.
- The analysed information was released in Nov 2018 by the Office for National Statistics.
What data says?
I analysed information related to England and the City of London. This is the summary:
- The majority of the population is between 16-64 years old (60% approximately). There is a good balance between the population that is under 16, and the population that is over 65 as each group represents 20% of the total.
- In impending years, more significant increases are predicted of over 65’s compared with other groups. That is worrying!
- Approximately 65% of the population is between 16-64 years old. The percentage of people over 65 is at 22%. It is concerning that London has more people at the age of retirement than people under 16.
- In the next few years, it looks as though there shall be an increase in the population of over 65’s whereas the other 2 groups will decline in numbers (particularly those of working age).
England’s and London’s population of over 65’s is growing faster than the two aforementioned groups and it appears the trend will continue in this fashion until 2037.
What are the consequences of an ageing population?
(Parliament UK, n.d.) According to the UK Parliament, growing numbers of elderly people will have an impact on:
- State pension expenditure
- Social care expenditure
According to this, the public sector will need to change its policies to reduce its deficit. These policies could include:
- Raising taxes
- Cutting expenditure
There are other alternatives such as:
- Reducing public expenditure on the elderly
- Implementing policies to prevent illnesses and disease in order to remain active and healthy in later life
- Encouragement to stay in the labour market for longer
- Encouraging immigration of working age individuals
According to the Guardian (n.d.), there could be terrible consequences for some people as they could miss out on a better quality of life in their elderly years due to the increasing pressure on health and care services, local authorities, the voluntary sector and government finances.
The article also says that the poorest people are three times more likely than the wealthiest to retire early because of ill-health. Currently, a significant and increasing proportion of people are managing multiple health conditions and mobility problems from mid-life onwards.
This panorama is quite disturbing not just for the aged people that could be missing out on required care but also for working people too, as an increase in taxes could be the quick fix adopted by politicians. Honestly, I don’t think I could pay any more tax!!! What about you?
- The Guardian (n.d.) Millions in Britain at risk of poor-quality later life, report says. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/mar/13/millions-in-britain-at-risk-of-poor-quality-later-life-report-says[Accessed 7th June 2019]
- ONS- Office For National Statistics (2018) Overview of the UK population: November 2018. Available from: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/articles/overviewoftheukpopulation/november2018#the-uk-population-is-at-its-largest-ever[Accessed 6thJune 2019]
- ParliamentUK (n.d.) Challenges of an ageing population. Available from: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/key-issues-parliament-2015/social-change/ageing-population/[Accessed 7thJune 2019]