Census 2011: Older people

Census 2011: Older people

  • In 2011, 9.2 million (16 per cent) usual residents of England and Wales were aged 65 and over, an increase of almost one million from 2001 (8.3 million or 16 per cent).
  • 57 per cent (5.3 million) of those aged 65 and over in 2011 were married or in a civil partnership (including those who were separated but still legally married or in a civil partnership); 53 per cent (4.3 million) of those aged 65 and over were married in 2001.
  • The proportion of those aged 65 and over who were divorced almost doubled from 5.2 per cent in 2001 to 8.7 per cent in 2011; this compares with a small rise from 8.2 per cent of the 16 and over population in 2001 to 9.0 per cent in 2011.
  • In 2011, 56 per cent (5.2 million) of those aged 65 and over were living as a couple, an increase from 52 per cent (4.3 million) in 2001. Those living as married couples increased from 51 per cent to 54 per cent and the proportion living as cohabiting couples almost doubled from 1.6 per cent to 2.8 per cent.
  • Just under a third (31 per cent) of those aged 65 and over were living alone in 2011; this was a decrease from 34 per cent in 2001.
  • The proportion of the population aged 65 and over who were living in communal establishments declined from 4.5 per cent (374,000) in 2001 to 3.7 per cent (337,000) in 2011.
  • 9 out of 10 of those aged 65 and over in England and Wales in 2011 were economically inactive, including 86 per cent who were retired; the remaining 10 per cent were economically active.
  • The proportion of the population aged 65-74 who were economically active in 2011 (16 per cent) was almost double the proportion in 2001 (8.7 per cent).
  • Half (50 per cent) of all usual residents in England and Wales aged 65 and over living in households reported very good or good health in 2011; this compared to 88 per cent for those aged under 65.
  • 14 per cent of older people living in households in England and Wales provided unpaid care in 2011, compared to 12 per cent in 2001. The largest increase in proportion was for those aged 65 and over providing 50 hours or more unpaid care a week: up from 4.3 per cent (341,000) in 2001 to 5.6 per cent (497,000) in 2011.
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