28/07/2004

Britain's octogenarian population set to double by 2031

The number of Britons aged 80 and over will double by 2031 to almost five million, according to statistics released today.

The UK's octogenarians will grow from 2.5 million recorded in 2002 to 4.9 million by 2031, projections made by the Government Actuary have found.

Longer-term population projections suggest a continuing increase for around a further 20 years, peaking in the early 2050s at nearly seven million.

The projections also show that the number of older people will increase significantly relative to the number of younger people, with the average age expected to rise from 39.3 years in 2002 to 43.6 years in 2031.

The number of children aged under 16 is projected to fall by 7.4% from 11.8 million in 2002 to just below 11 million in 2014 and then to rise slowly until the late 2020s.

The working age population (currently defined as between ages 16 to 64 for men and 16 to 59 for women) is projected to rise by 3.5% from 36.6 million in 2002 to 37.8 million in 2011. Allowing for the planned change in women's state pension age from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2020, the working age population will increase further to 39.4 million by 2021 and then gradually start to fall.

The Government Actuary's Department produces national population projections for the UK and its constituent countries at the request of the Registrars General for England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. The assumptions used are agreed in consultation with the statistical offices of the four constituent countries.

(gmcg)

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