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‘Living longer and old-age dependency – what does the future hold?’ the new data release from the ONS suggests that as we look at the impact of an ageing population we need to revisit the way we think about our ageing population and its impact on economic dependency.

Measures that include economic activity rather than age structures may provide a more meaningful picture of economic dependency.

The analysis suggests that greater economic activity among older people is an increasingly important factor in offsetting the impact of an older population on our future economy.

Responding to new data from the Office for Nations Statistics, Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:

“Our population continues to age rapidly and today’s new data from the ONS reveals the fastest growth of economic activity is among 50 to 64 year olds and those aged 65 years and over - much of this growth is women participating in the labour force, particularly at older ages and working part-time. 


However, we also know that we are taking on greater caring responsibilities for family and friends increasingly alongside paid work. Recent polling from Carers UK suggests one in five of all adults aged 55+ are now providing unpaid care to someone who is ill, disabled or older and needs support[1]. This collision of responsibilities can be a source of enormous stress and is a risk factor for continued economic activity.


Without flexible high quality care and support services in place, we cannot rely on ever increasing employment among older workers at the same time as they prop up a care system in crisis.


Alongside urgent and sustained investment in social care, we also need improved workplace rights with a statutory right to paid care leave and greater access to technology that can help with supporting from a distance.”


[1] Carers UK (2019) Juggling Work and Unpaid Care

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