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This page contains a wealth of statistics in relation to age discrimination issues, including life expectancy, employment rates and UK demographics.

Beside the range of statistics available below, more detailed analyses can be found using the links on the left hand side.

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Chances of living to 100


Someone born today has a 29.9% chance of living until the age of 100. Someone born in 1912 had just a 0.7% chance of living until 100.


(Source: DWP, August 2011)


Average age of retirement


The average age of retirement has continued to increase for both men and women. It is now 64.6 for men and 62.3 for women.


(Source: ONS, January 2012)


Estimates of number of centenarians (people aged 100 years or more) 

Over the last 30 years the number of centenarians (people aged 100 years or more) in the UK has increased five fold from 2,500 in 1980 to 12,640 in 2010.


The chart shows the estimated number of centenarians in the UK for the period 1965 to 2010. Throughout this period female centenarians have always outnumbered male centenarians due to higher life expectancies for women. The number of female centenarians has risen steadily since the mid 1960s, and this increase has accelerated over the last decade. The number of male centenarians has also shown a marked increase since the year 2000.

The ratio of female to male centenarians has started to fall in recent years; in 2000 there were approximately nine female centenarians for every male centenarian, in 2009 there were approximately six female centenarians for every male centenarian and in 2010 the ratio fell to approximately five female centenarians for every male centenarian. This fall is due to recent improvements in male mortality. Since 2000 the estimated number of male centenarians has nearly tripled from 720 to 1,970 in 2010. The number of female centenarians over the same period has increased by 58 per cent from 6,140 in 2000 to 10,670 in 2010.

Estimated Population aged 100 years and over, 1970-2010

  1970 1980 1990 2000 2010
England and Wales 1,080 2,280 4,030 6,230 11,610
Scotland 80 150 260 480 820
Northern Ireland 30 70 100 140 210
UK (Total) 1,180 2,500 4,380 6,860 12,640

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart data XLS format


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Life expectancy

Current life expectancy figures at birth are 81.6 for women and 77.4 for men. Projections for 2025 for life expectancy at birth are 84.4 for women and 80.7 for men.

Current life expectancy for women aged 65 is 85, compared to 82.4 for men. Projections for 2025 for life expectancy at 65 are 87.5 for women and 85.1 for men.

(source:, updated January 2010 using 2006-2009 statistics)

These figures contrast with life expectancies of 49 and 45 years for women and men respectively at the turn of the last century in 1901 (, source: Government Actuary's Department for expectation of life data).

EU Labour Force Survey 2005

The EU Labour Force Survey 2005 gives results derived from 380.3 million people aged 15 and more living in private households in the 25 member states of the EU.

The employment rate of older people (55 to 64 years old) was 42.5% in 2005, up by 5.9 percentage points since 2000 (source: Eurostat).

UK population aged 55-64 was 6,973,000 in 2005, this consists of 3,425,000 men and 3,547,000 women. This is out of a total UK population of 58 421 000. (source: Eurostat).

Retirement ages in Europe

Average actual retirement ages for men in Europe 
Average actual retirement ages for women in Europe


Current UK Population

Updated January 2010 using statistics for 2002 to 2008 (source:

  • The UK population in mid 2008 was 61.4 million.
  • The working population (aged 16-59 for women and 16-64 for men) is just over 38 million.
  • Over 21 million of the population are aged 50 years and over.
  • 1.3 million people (2%, or 1 in 50, of the entire UK population) are aged 85 of over.
  • Most people in the UK are 43 years old.
  • Women over 90 continue to outnumber men by about three to one.
  • Nearly 11.8 million are over retirement age (65 for men and 60 for women). This is 19.2% of the total UK population, but 30% of the working population.
  • There are approximately 10,000 people in the UK aged over 100, with around 85% of them being women.

UK Projected Population

Updated January 2010 (source:

  • The UK population is expected to exceed 70 million by 2029 and will be 71.6 million by 2033.
  • By 2011, the mean age of the UK population will exceed 40 for the first time.
  • The number of people of working age will increase from 38.1 million to 43.3 million.
  • The number of people of pensionable age will increase from 11.6 million to 15.6 million. (Note - between 2010 and 2020, state pension age will change from 65 for men and 60 for women to 65 for both sexes. Between 2024 and 2046, state pension age will increase to 68 for both sexes.)
  • More people will be aged over 40 than under 40 by 2023.
  • By 2033, there will be 3.3 million people aged over 85. The number of centenarians is expected to reach 80,000.

Age diversity in employment by location

(source: Age Positive)

Department for Work and Pensions statistics for England reveal that Liverpool, Hackney, Camden, Manchester, Newcastle and Luton have some of the lowest employment rates for older workers aged between 50 and 69. For example, despite an older population of 82,000 in Liverpool, only 36.6% of these people are in employment. Slough employs the highest proportion of older workers with an employment rate of 73.9%, and Hartlepool the least at 31.8%.

The other top locations which have the highest percentage of people aged 50-69 in employment include West Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Rutland, Swindon and Reading.

Age and Employment

(source: Age Concern)

In 2005 over 6.2 million people aged between 50 and the State Pension Age were in employment. The employment rate for men between the ages of 50 and 64 is 72.4% and for women between the ages of 50 and 59 is 68.4%. This compares to an employment rate for all people of working age of 74.6%. (Source: Department for Work and Pensions).

In Spring 2005, 8.9% of men aged 65 and over and 10.4% of women aged 60 and over were still in employment.

In 2003, 40% of households with 2 adults, 1 or both aged 60 or over, and 11% of single person households aged 60 or over owned a home computer.

In 2003, 32% of households with 2 adults, 1 or both aged 60 or over, and 9% of single person households aged 60 or over, had access to the internet at home. (source: general household survey: results for 2003).

In 2005, 17% of people aged 65-74, and 10% of people aged 75 and over, took part in some sort of adult learning (source: NIACE survey on adult participation in learning 2005).


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