By 2035, people over the age of 65 are estimated to make up 23% of the population of the UK. This will be the largest number of over-65s in history. It's also projected that in 2035 the number of over-85s will be double what it was in 2010, with 5% of the UK population in this group. These increases are the result of large historical birth cohorts and increasing life expectancies.

As we live longer, we are also likely to remain healthy for longer. In Europe at least three quarter of life expectancy at birth consists of healthy years. Because work and study are major drivers of immigration, migrants tend to be younger than native-born people, with medium and high-level qualifications and employment rates equivalent to their native-born counterparts. This is important because young working immigrants can help stimulate the economy by being employed, paying taxes and being consumers.

Below is the UK population pyramid. You can use this interactive graphic to find out the projected number of people in each age group. Choose different scenarios and see what happens.


1.According to the principal variant, what percentage of the UK population was aged 65 and above in 2014?

2. In 2049, what percentage of the UK is projected to be aged 65? Is this percentage higher or lower in the high migration scenario?

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The ESRC Centre for Population Change aims to improve our understanding of the extent, drivers and implications of population change in the UK and beyond.
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