Ageing populations around the world

On average, our population is ageing. This is generally down to better healthcare, more medical research and lower child fertility rates. But how does the ageing population vary around the world, and region to region? Acorn Stairlifts have investigated:


In 2016, the UK’s population reached 65.6 million — its largest ever. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), this is expected to reach 74 million by 2039.

Of the UK’s population, 18% is aged 65 and over, while 2.4% of people are aged 85 and over. In fact, for every 1,000 people of traditional working age (16 to 64 years), there were 285 people aged 65 and over.

Looking more closely at the figures, we can see that there is less than 1% difference between the number of children (0-15 years) and the number of older people (65+) in the UK (18.9% vs. 18.0%). From these figures, it’s clear that the UK has an ageing population.

Like many other western countries, UK residents have access to a high standard of healthcare. As education increases around the health implications of our lifestyle choices, we’re also leading better, more active lives. As a country then, we’re living longer.

Of course, the density of the UK’s ageing population varies between different areas of the country. ONS research shows that there was a higher proportion of over 65s and over 85s living near to coastal areas. London and the south have some of the lowest percentages of older people, which could potentially be a result of their urban, bustling cities and higher cost of living.

Overall, a newborn baby boy in the UK today can expect to live to 79.2 years, while a newborn baby girl can expect to live to 82.9 years.


If the current trend of rising life expectancy in Germany continues, boys born in 2017 are expected to live up to 90 years old and girls up to 93. Compare this to life 100 years ago in Germany when male and female life expectancy was only 55 and 62 years respectively, it’s clear to see how times have changed.

In addition to the aging population, more births are happening too — leading to a rise in Germany’s population figures. In fact, records show that 55,000 (7.4%) more babies were born in 2016 compared to the previous year.

Perhaps the ageing population can be attributed to their active lifestyles, as German people are staying in employment longer than ever before. In 2016, it was recorded that 11% of people aged between 65 and 74 were in employment. Ten years ago, in 2006, this figure stood at only 5%.

In recent years, Germany has experienced higher levels of net immigration. Research has shown that this is not set to reverse the trend towards an ageing population, however. In fact, the number of people in the German population aged 67 and over is expected to rise 42% from the 2013 figure to 2040’s corresponding figure.


In 2017, the population of Belgium stands at around 11.4 million. In terms of their ageing population, 1,860 people were recorded to be over the age of 100. The median age of the Belgium population is expected to be 41.4 — almost a 7-year increase on the median age recorded in 1955.

The life expectancy in the country has continued to rise in recent years and was recorded to be 81 in 2017. This is believed to be due to the advances in medicine, which has improved not only medical care for adults but for newborns too.

As in all countries, the life expectancy is dependent on gender and birth region. In 2016, life expectancy was recorded to be the highest in the region of Flanders (82.4 years). The life expectancy gap between women and men was found to be 4.84 years — this is narrowing, however.


The life expectancy in Italy stood at 83.49 in 2015, 2.71 years more than ten years previous in 2005. The rising life expectancy in Italy is said to be down to a rising quality of living through higher living standards as individuals move out of poverty situations and into affluence. It is also said that there is less of a gap between the classes of society, improving everyone’s quality of life.

In terms of region, there is a significant difference in life expectancy between those living in the north of the country and those residing in the south. Northern Italians can expect to outlive those in the south by as much as three years! It is believed that this is down to their more relaxed lifestyle.

By 2024, Italy will have more than 1 million people over the age of 90. The ageing population in Italy is largely supported by their family and there is a big focus around this. In fact, less than 1% of the senior population use home care services and rely on their families instead.


The life expectancy in the US was reported to be 78.74 in 2015, over one year higher than the age recorded in 2005. The reasoning behind the ageing population in the States is suggested to be down to lower child death rates as medical research improves. One demographer said that the surge in an ageing population was down to the baby boomers who began turning 65 in 2011.

Backing this research up is the figures that revealed the rise of the median age across the nation. This stood at 35.3 in 2000 and rose to 37.9 in 2016 — telling us again that people are growing older. Naturally, some retirement communities, such as Sumter County in Florida, have higher median ages than other areas. In 16 years, the median age in this community rose by almost 20 years.

Possibly down to the scale of the country, the life expectancy across the US varies drastically. In fact, one report revealed that the life expectancy varies by more than 20 years between some states!


Canada’s life expectancy currently stands at 81.1. Although there is still a gap between male and females as women live longer, this is narrowing too. Similar to other countries, the expectancy varies across the country. British Columbia is the province that ranks the highest in terms of life expectancy and it is those who reside in the three northern territories who have lower expectancy rates.

In 2016, it was revealed that Canadians over the age of 65 outnumber children who are aged 14 and under. More people are celebrating their 100th birthday too — the share of people over the age of 100 has increased by 41.3% since 2011.

The reasoning behind the ageing population in Canada is said to be down to the baby boomers reaching 65, the rising life expectancies and lower fertility rates.

Article courtesy of Acorn Stairlifts CanadaAcorn Stairlifts UK and Acorn Stairlifts USA.



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