In addition, the age structure of the population is projected to change significantly over the next 40 years, mainly as a result of past fluctuations in the number of births. The population will become gradually older with the largest increases expected in people of pensionable age.
The main changes projected are
-- The number of people over the present pensionable age (65 for men and 60 for women) is projected to increase by just over 1 per cent between 1994 and 2003, from 9.5 to 9.6 million, and then to rise more quickly to reach 14.8 million in 2034 - an increase of 54 per cent in just over 30 years. The population aged 75 and over is projected to increase by about 70 per cent between 1994 and 2034.
-- The population of working age (men aged 16-64 and women aged 16-59) is projected to grow by 5-1/2 per cent over 17 years to a peak of 33.3 million in 2011, and then to fall by 11 per cent over the following 23 years.
-- The dependency ratio (the ratio of the sum of those aged under 16 and those over present pensionable age to those of working age) is projected to stay close to its current levels of 64 per 100 people of working age for the next 20 years. It will then rise rapidly, reaching 80 by 2034, as people born in the 1960s 'baby boom' reach pensionable age.
** National population projections: 1994-based OPCS Monitor PP2 96/1 Price £2. ISSN 0953-3427.