This page is the product of laziness. It’s too much effort to keep reiterating demographic details. On the other hand, it’s useful sometimes to have some figures about, to remind one of quite what a disruption the agebomb is. There are lots and lots of statistics available; the spread of older people is more than matched by the mushrooming of facts and figures about them. Entire books and very long papers are being written on the subject all the time. The following is a no-particular-order list of some of those that I think are most eye-catching or interesting. It’s not comprehensive (though further suggestions would be welcome); its purpose is simply to provide a bit of context. The figures all add up to the same thing, though: there are lots of older people, and soon there are going to be lots more.

  • By 2040, more than one in four Europeans is likely to be at least 65 years of age. One in seven is likely to be at least 75 years old.
  • It is forecast that one in five people in North America will be aged over 65 by 2040.
  • The world’s population aged over 80 is projected to increase 233% between 2008 and 2040, compared with 160% for the population aged 65 and over and 33% for the population of all ages.
  • The most rapid increases in older populations will be seen in developing countries, which accounted for more than 80% of the increase in older people in 2008.
  • By 2040, the developing world is projected to be home to more than 1bn people aged 65 and over – 76% of the world’s total.
  • Older people will make up 48% of all new household growth in Britain up to 2026.
  • The combined costs of social care, healthcare, pensions and benefits are estimated on current trends to be £300bn annually in Britain by 2025, around three times current NHS annual expenditure.
  • When pensions were introduced to Britain in the 1900s, there were 22 people of working age for every retired person. In 2024 there will be fewer than three.
  • People over 65 own 80% of private wealth in the UK, controlling £460bn in un-mortgaged equity alone – enough money to fund the NHS for 10 years.

If you know of a resource we should include on this page then please contact us.