New forecast: UK’s ageing population to double by 2045

  • The proportion of population aged 0-29 will drop over the same period, the projections said.
  • Migration will play vital role in increasing overall population as more deaths and less births predicted.

A new forecast by Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows the UK’s population will continue to age up to the year 2045.

The country will see 3.1 million people aged 85+ which is nearly double the figure compared to 2020. Over the same period, the proportion of people aged between 0 to 29 is projected to fall considerably.  

The 2020-based interim national population projections say that the number of people aged 85 years and over is estimated to be 1.7 million in 2020. This represents 2.5% of the country’s total population.  In the next 25 years the number of this segment of the population is projected to reach 3.1 million, an 82% increase. The over 85’s will then account for 4.3% of the total population.

This contrasts with the proportion of population aged 0-14, which will fall from 17.9% (12.0 million) in 2020 to 14.8% (10.5 million) in 2045 while the proportion of population aged between 15 and 29 will drop from 18.3% (12.2 million) to 16.9% (11.9 million) over the same period, the projections said.

These figures published by ONS indicate how the population of the UK is continuing to tilt rapidly towards the older aged groups.

ONS observed that this projected boom in the number of elderly people by 2045, is “in part because of the baby boomers from the 1960s now being aged around 80 years, as well as general increases in life expectancy”.

Experts think that policy makers should think in advance as this projected growth of an ageing population will have long-standing economic and social impacts.

Dr Krish Saha, is an institutional economist at the Birmingham City Business School. He says this will be a burdensome to the Treasury.

“When more and more people are going to need elderly care, it will be the responsibility of the state to provide that” he said.

Dr Saha, senior lecturer in International Business, observed that there should a balance between the working age population groups who pay tax revenues, pensioners and the cost of elderly care services. He says creative solutions to these problems are required.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, years of funding cuts in health and social care, [have led to]our health system struggling to cope with significantly higher demands. Public health experts are saying now that there will be other pandemics in future, probably on a much bigger scale, so these kind of situations will get much worse.”

Meanwhile, projections suggest that migration will play a vital role in increasing overall population of the UK in the next 10 years, as this decade will see more deaths than births.

From mid-2020 to mid-2030, the population of the UK is projected to grow due to net migration. Over this period, 6.6 million people will be born whereas 6.7 million people will die. 5.6 million people are projected to immigrate long-term to the UK whereas 3.4 million people will emigrate long-term from the UK, according to the ONS. Therefore, there will be a net 3.9 million people projected over the next decade. This amounts to a 3.2% growth in the UK population by 2030.

“Given a higher number of deaths and fewer births are projected, net international migration is expected to play an increasing role in population growth,” observes James Robards from ONS Population and Household Projections.


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