KNOWLEDGE BASE Demographics On Aging In The UK

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October 30th, 2019 Update: On March 29, 2017, UK Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50, which formally started the process whereby the UK will leave the European Union. The original plan was for the UK to leave the EU on March 29th, 2019 but the process has proven to be very complicated and dates and outcomes have continued to shift. On October 28th, 2019, the EU agreed to push the extension deadline to January 31, 2020. 

We will continue to update this bulletin as information is provided.

Old British man


Demographics On Aging In The UK


Age structure in the UK

The UK’s median age (the number at which half the population is older and half is younger) is 40.0, the highest it’s ever been. In the past 40 years, that number represents an increase of just over 6 years. The median age varies across the UK countries, with a low of 38 in Northern Island to a high of 42.1 in Wales. There are over 11.4 million people aged 65 and over. 

Age structure in the UK 

 0-14 years: 17.37% (male 5,706,871/female 5,424,654)

15-24 years: 12.41% (male 4,060,480/female 3,891,262)

25-54 years: 40.91% (male 13,344,087/female 12,873,234)

55-64 years: 11.58% (male 3,675,565/female 3,746,483)

65 years and over: 17.73% (male 5,086,919/female 6,278,667) (2015 est.)

Chart showing the UK's age structure by gender


Chart showing UK life expectancy for all and by gender


Aging and gender in the UK

Faster improvements in mortality rates for men than for women mean that the number of men aged 75 and over has increased by 149% since mid-1974 while the number of women in that age group has grown by 61%. The faster improvement in male mortality is largely driven by changes seen in tobacco smoking and advances in health treatments for circulatory illnesses. Male occupations over the same period have also become less physical and safer. Detailed explanation of this theme is available in the Office for National Statistics' National Life Tables release from September 2014. 



Globig Resources

World Factbook

The UK Office for National Statistics provides a number of resources for understanding demographics about aging in the United Kingdom. 

For UK age distribution since 1984 and projected into 2044, scroll to the bottom of the linked page

For life expectancies at birth and age 65 by local areas in England and Wales, use the interactive table. Another table on that page ranks each area by life expectancy at birth and age 65

More detailed information on aging in the UK, along with more information on UK life expectancies

Age pyramid by gender: Download the Population Estimates Analysis Tool and click on the Population Pyramid tab

Information on Median Age in the United Kingdom

National Life Tables for citizens of the UK

KNOWLEDGE BASE Demographics On Aging In The UK