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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 March, 2004, 17:18 GMT
Ageing population: Facts behind the fiction
All the drama-documentaries in the IF series are based on rigorous journalism and research, here's a few facts about the impact an ageing population will have on the UK.

  • By 2040, the number of people over 64 in Britain is expected to grow from 9.5 million to 15 million.
    (Source: Catalyst Report)

  • In 2000 there were 11.2 million people under the age of 15 in the UK. By 2040, this will have decreased to 8.7 million.

  • In 1999 the working population amounted to 47.8% of the total UK population. By 2030 it will be 44.5%. This could mean a shortfall of two million workers.

  • There are currently 11 million people in the UK between 45 and 60, the so-called 'baby boomers'. They own 70% of the nation's wealth. In 20 years time they could own 85-90% of disposable income in the UK.
    (Source: Martin Raymond, The Future Laboratory)

  • About half of spending on hospital and community health services in Britain is for people over 65.
    (Source: Catalyst Report)

  • Figures for the number of dependent older people in England are projected to grow from 2.5 million in 2001 to just over four million in 2031 - an increase of 57%..

  • When pensions were introduced in the early 1900s there were 22 people of working age in Britain for every retired person. In 2024 there will be less than three.

  • Over 50s buy 80% of all top of the range cars, 50% of skincare products, 80% of leisure cruises.

  • Over the last two decades, consumption by Europe's over 50s has risen three times as fast as that of the rest of the population.

  • British State pensions as a percentage of wages are the lowest of all of the G7 countries
    (Source: Phil Mullan, The Imaginary Timebomb)

  • People aged 60 and over already outnumber children under 16 in the UK for the first time.

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