Fact Sheet: Intergenerational Overview

Thomas Jefferson: ‘I sincerely believe… that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale.’ Letter to John Taylor, 1816

Edmund Burke wrote about the idea of the State in 1789: ‘It becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.’


  • From 2011 to 2013, 28% of those aged 22-30 years of age were still living in the family home. IFS, 2014.
  • 3.3 million adults aged 20-34 years of age are living with their parents. ONS, 2013.
  • 1.5 million more under-30s will be living in private rented accommodation compared to 2012. Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2012.
  • More than one third of England’s 14.3 million homeowners are now aged 65 years or older. Just 1.4 million homeowners are aged between 25-34 years. Department of Communities and Local Government, 2014.
  • In 2013-14, 75% of owner-occupiers were aged 45 years of age or older. Less than 9% were aged below 35 years of age. The English Household Survey, 2013-14.
  • From 2003-04 to 2013-14, the percentage of 25 to 34-year-olds who are owner occupiers fell from 58.6% to 35.9%. The percentage who were living in the private rented sector rose form 21.4% to 48.2%. The English Household Survey, 2013-14.
  • Between 1991 and 2009/10 the 65 to 74 age group saw a 14% increase in home ownership (from 62 to 79%) whilst those aged over 75 saw home ownership rise from 53 to 73%. Over a longer time period, this trend of growing home ownership amongst the old is even clearer. In 2008/9 75% of people aged over 65 owned their own home, up from 49% in 1981 – a 53% rise. The English Household Survey, 1981-2010.
  • More than 1 in 5 young people (20–45 year olds) have completely given up hope of ever owning a home. 52% of 8000 young people surveyed believe that renting rather than buying will become the norm within the next 20 years. Halifax, 2013.
  • 82% of non-homeowners in London aged 20-45 fear they will never be able to buy a house. Halifax, 2015.
  • Median house prices have risen by 2.8%, while incomes for people aged 22-29 years of age have risen by 1%. ONS, 2013 & IF, 2014.
  • Fewer than 2% of properties in the private rented sector are now available and affordable for single young people on housing benefit. Crisis, 2014.
  • The deposit required today (£30,000) is almost ten times the deposit required in the early 1980s (£2,000-3,000), after accounting for inflation. National Housing Federation, 2014.
  • The average age of an unassisted FTB has risen from 30 to 33 years old. CML, 2011.
  • If house prices had grown in line with the stock market over the last two decades (5 per cent a year) then average house prices would be 50% cheaper, Martin Weale, Head of The National Institute of Economic and Social Research and Member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee.


  • Since 2008 households headed by people in their 20s now spend 45% of total spending on housing costs, food, power, fuel and transport. IF, 2014.
  • 52% of UK adults are struggling to keep up with debt repayments and bills. The Money advice Service, 2013.
  • One in six families in the most financially distressed parts of Britain are covering the cost of essentials with payday loans or unauthorised overdrafts, or are defaulting on household bills, Which?, 2014.
  •  The 50-59 and 60+ age bracket saw the greatest rise in median earnings from 2012-13. ONS, 2013.
  • 47% of recent graduates are working in jobs that do not need a degree. ONS, 2013.
  • The unemployment rate for new graduates was 9% for April-June 2013. ONS, 2013.
  • 723,000 young people aged 16-24 were unemployed in May to July 2015. ONS, 2015.
  • The overall unemployment rate for 16-24 year olds is 15.6%, compared to 5.5% for the population overall ONS, 2015.
  • The number of retirees working has tripled over the last 15 years (1998-2012). TUC in The Guardian, 2013.
  • The number of retirees working has now surpassed 1 million, and over 300,000 of these are over 70. ONS in The Daily Mail, 2013.

The Family:

  • 6 million family households don’t have enough money coming in to cover their bills – this is a rise of 750,000 since 2012. Legal & General, 2014.
  • 7 million households are trying to get by on incomes below the level needed for an ‘adequate standard of living’. Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2014.
  • One in five parents are struggling to feed their children. 18% of people in the UK have suffered from some kind of food poverty, rising to 21% in households with children. The problem is exasperated in the 18-24 age bracket, with 44% of this age group reporting that they had experienced food poverty to some extent in the last 6 months. Trussell Trust, 2014.
  • 46% of women in the UK say the single main reason they delay motherhood is because of money and the costs involved in raising a child. YouGov in The Daily Mail, 2013.
  • The average age of all mothers has consistently risen from 26.4 in 1973 to 30.0 in 2013. ONS, 2013
  • 2.2 million children living in families struggling in spite of one or both parents working in low to middle income jobs, The Guardian, 19 June 2012.
  • 2.8 million people aged between 18-44 are delaying children because they can’t afford to buy a home. Shelter, 2010.


  • Average hospital spending for an 89 year old man is around 3 times higher than the average spend for a 70 year old and almost nine times more than someone under 50. IFS, 2015.
  • 64% of 80 year olds received hospital care in 2010/11 vs 30% of 40 year olds and just over 20% of 20 year olds. IFS, 2015.
  • Healthcare spending as a share of GDP rose from 5% to 7.8% from 1997/98 to 2009/10, a rise of 56%. IFS, 2015.
  • In 2013/14 health constituted 17.9% of all public spending and 31.5% of all public service spending. IFS, 2015.
  • Of a £100 billion NHS budget, 50% already goes on the over-65’s.
  • Caring for Britain’s elderly population could cost up to £106bn a year. This is the equivalent to paying for a second NHS. Policy Exchange in The Guardian, 2010.
  • “The current generation of pensioners and those now approaching state pension age are much better off, in terms of both income and wealth, than their predecessors – and will be among the particular beneficiaries of the recommendations.The commission therefore believes it is right for them to make a contribution towards the additional costs and proposes that:
    – free TV licences for the over-75s and Winter Fuel Payments should be restricted to the
    least affluent pensioners
    – the existing complete exemption from National Insurance for those who work past state pension age should end (with payment of National Insurance at a lower rate)
    – those aged between 40 and 65 should pay an additional 1 per cent in National Insurance, introduced to match the phasing in of the settlement.”, Commission on The Future of Health and Social Care, The Kings Fund 2014.
  •  25% of hospital beds are occupied by people with dementia, Alzheimer’s Society, 2009.
  • Over the past twenty years there has been a 25% increase in the amount of time people live permanently unwell at the end of their lives, ‘Long Term Public Finance Report’, HM Treasury, 2009, p9.
  • The NHS now spends more on alcohol-related illness among baby boomers than any other age group, with £825m spent on 55-74-year-olds in 2010-11 compared to £64m on under-24s. BBC, 2012.

Population Ageing:

  • The UK now has over 500,000 people who are aged 90+, including almost 15,000 centenarians – a group whose number has risen by 72% in the last 10 years. ONS, 2015.
  • On average across OECD countries, there were slightly more than four people of working age (15-64 years) for every person 65 years and older in 2012. This rate is projected to halve from 4.2 in 2012 to 2.1 on average across OECD countries over the next 40 years. OECD, 2013.
  • The number of over 90s has tripled in the last 30 years, and the number of centenarians has gone up by over four and a half times. ONS, 2014
  • The proportion of over 75’s will increase from 7.9% in 2012 to 13% in 2037. ONS, 2013.
  • There will be over 500,000 centenarians in the UK by 2066. DWP, 2011.
  • By 2080, there could be 626,900 people in the UK aged 100 or more, 21,000 of whom will be at least 110, DWP in The Guardian, 2013.
  • 65% of Department for Work and Pensions benefit expenditure goes to those over working age. Continuing to provide state benefits and pensions at today’s average would mean for every additional one million people over working age, additional spending of £10 billion a year would be needed. Parliament UK, 2010.
  • From 2012 to 2032, the population of 65-84 years olds will increase by 39%, and the population of over 85’s will increase by 106%. In contrast, the population of 0-14 years olds will increase by 11%, and 15-64 year olds by 7%. The King’s Fund, 2013.
  • The ‘old-age dependency ratio’ (the number of people of state pension age for every 1000 people working) will increase from 314 per 1000 in 2009 to 349 per 1000 in 2032, even with the implementation of higher state pension ages. The King’s Fund, 2013.
  • There are 600,000 wealthy pensioners who qualify for the highest rates of income tax who still receive winter fuel allowance. BBC, 2013
  •  Winter Fuel Allowance cost £2.14bn in 2013/14, and free TV licences for the over-75s cost £616m. Concessionary Bus passes also cost over £1bn in England alone. DWP, 2015 and House of Commons Briefing Paper, 2015.
  • The UK will add an extra city the size of London between 2012 and 2037 consisting entirely of over-60s. ONS in IF, 2013.
  • One person will turn 65 every 41 seconds in the UK. Actuarial Post
  • The expectation is that a person in the UK could spend possibly 3 months with physical or mental disability for every year of increase in life expectancy. Other developed countries have experienced similar trends. Actuarial Post.
  • 1 in 6 people in England and Wales are over 65 years. Census, 2011.
  • By 2040 there will be 10 million over-75s whilst the super-old (aged over 90) will increase by 390 per cent), Howker and Malik, The Jilted Generation, 2010.
  • Census figures reveal a particularly vigorous increase in number of over-90’s rising from 13,000 in 1911 to 430,000 in 2011. Census, 2011.
  • In 1971 over-60s made up one in five of the population, in 2030 over-60s will make up almost one third of the population, ONS, 2009
  • 100,000 people get winter fuel allowance even though they earn over £100,000, Howker and Malik, The Jilted Generation, 2010.
  • The cost of caring for the elderly could treble by 2050. 10% of people in OECD countries will be more than 80 years old by 2050, as longevity increases, OECD, 18 May 2011.
  • By 2050, Britain will have to spend £80 billion per year above what it does now on pensions, long-term elderly care and the NHS.” OECD, 23 May 2011.
  • Of the £5.0 trillion pension obligations for which the UK government was responsible at end-2010, £3.8 trillion were in respect of state pensions (263 per cent of GDP). ONS, 2012.


  • By 2020 over half of voters will be over 50 years of age, with 30.8% of the electorate being over 65 by 2025. Civil Society, 2009.
  • In 2025, it is estimated that 478 constituencies (73.5% of the total) in the UK will have a ‘grey majority’ (where more than 50% of votes cast are from voters over 55). Civil Society, 2009.


  • Half of 17-20 year old undergraduates and two thirds of 21-24 year old undergraduates worry about covering basic costs and paying their bills, NUS, 2012.
  • A typical university student will leave university with more than £44,000 of debt. Sutton Trust, 2012.
  • Figures show that students are facing an average funding shortage between government maintenance loans and expenditure of £7,654 for those living inside London, and £7,693 outside London. Living costs are emerging as the primary concern for students. NUS, 2013.
  • Some students are being left with as little as £40 per week to live on. The Money Charity, 2014.
  • Two-thirds of undergraduates regularly worry about not having enough money to cover basic living costs. The Money Charity, 2014.
  • 2% of students had borrowed from a payday lender in the last year – around 46,000 students. Two-thirds of students surveyed stated that even small amounts of commercial debt hindered their ability to concentrate, even making them consider dropping out. NUS.
  • 50% of graduates that did not continue to postgraduate education wanted to, but did not because they were averse to taking on more debt. High Education Careers Services Unit & The University of Warwick, 2014.

For further information please contact Liz Emerson on liz@if.org.uk Mob: 07971 228823