Figures released by the Office for National Statistics have revealed that the older population in England and Wales is continuing to grow, with 11.1 million people in 2021 aged 65 or older, equivalent to 18.6%. This is up considerably from 9.2 million or 16.4% in 2011.

The number of over-65s now exceeds the number of under-15s, which is currently 10.37 million, or 17.4%, down slightly from 10.49 million or 17.6% in 2011.

The total population in England and Wales now stands at 59.6 million, up 3.5 million since 2011 and the highest number of people since records began in 1801.

The number of households in England and Wales on the census day was 24,782,800, up 1.4 million or 6.1% since 2011, when the figure stood at 23,366.044 households.

The total population of the UK is 67 million and is expected to pass 70 million within the next five years.

Becky Tinsley, deputy director for social statistics at the ONS said: ‘For the first time ever, we’ve exceeded half a million for the 90-plus population.’

The number of working-age individuals has also declined. Experts believe that while this has held steady before due to migration, making up for a falling birth-rate, with the effects of Brexit and attempts by the government to reduce migration the working-age population could continue to fall. Traditionally, migration has been of younger working-age people, which has been helpful to the economy.

Looking at regional variations, London has the youngest population as well as an unchanged older population.

Wales and the North East had older populations combined with lower population growth, meaning potential for future health and social care problems. In Wales, 15% of the population were aged 65 or older in 1981, but by 2021 it had risen to 21.3%, meaning that more than one in five individuals are of pensionable age.

Coastal areas continue to prove popular with the older generation, with North Norfolk and Rother in East Sussex having one-third of the population aged 65 or older. Other areas with higher levels of pensioners include Dorset, Pembrokeshire and the Isle of Wight.

Over-90s have exceeded half a million for the first time ever, up from just 15,000 in 1921.

Looking at regional populations, the East of England had the biggest rise, up by 488,000 or 8.8%, while the smallest was the North East, up 50,000, or 1.9%.

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