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.’


  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation study of 13 June 2012 predicts 1 million more under 30s will be locked out of home ownership as part of generation rent, http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/housing-options-solutions-young-people
  • Between 1991 and 2009/10, owner-­occupation levels in the 16 to 24 age group has fallen 61% (from 36% to 14%), whilst owner-occupation in the 25 to 34 age group fell 30% from 67 to 47%). Home ownership in the 35 to 44 age group also fell 14% (from 78 to 67%). The English Household Survey, 1981-2010.
  • In marked contrast, levels of owner-occupation continued to rise significantly in older age groups. 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.
  • Based on a poll of 4000 non-homeowners, Halifax found that two-thirds of young people (20–45 year olds) believe they have no prospect of ever getting on the property ladder, May 2011
  • The younger generation will be paying the older population profit from house sales of one trillion three hundred billion pounds, Martin Weale, www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/apr/30/housingmarket
  • 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.


  • Since 2008 households headed by people in their 20s now spend 45% of total spending on housing costs, food, power, fuel and transport, http://www.if.org.uk/archives/4967/squeezed-youth-the-intergenerational-pay-gap-and-cost-of-living-crisis, Kingman & Seager, Intergenerational Foundation, 2014
  • 7 million working adults struggling financially, 3.5m unable to cope and have no assets or savings to fall back on, The Guardian, 19 June 2012
  • 90% of the rise in employment over the last 10 years is accounted for by the over-50s,with a rise of 5.1% of 366,000 people Citi/ONS
  • 65% of all agency workers are under 35 years old http://www.tuc.org.uk/ontheedge/facts.cfm?theme=ontheedge
  • 35.9% of graduates in the last 6 years are filling low or unskilled jobs that could be done by school-leavers, Labour Force Survey, ONS, March 2012
  • The average entry wage is now half the average national wage, Gregg and Wadsworth, ‘Mind The Gap, Please’, p518
  • Unemployment rate for new graduates stands at 18.9% in final three months of 2011,ONS 2012
  • One in five graduates is out of work, ONS, 2012
  • There were 1.04 million unemployed 16 to 24 year olds in the three months to January 2012 up 28,000, Office for National Statistics, March 2012
  • The number of retirees working has doubled in past 20 years (jumping from 2000 -2011). Total number 1.4 million, Office of National Statistics, June 2012

The Family:

  • 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. Belinda Turffrey, The Human Cost, Shelter, 2010


  • Of a £100 billion NHS budget, 50% already goes on the over-65’s.
  • 25% of hospital beds are occupied by people with dementia, https://www.wp.dh.gov.uk/cno/files/2012/05/CQUINN-safety-thermometer-guidance.pdf.
  • In last twenty years there has been a 25% increase in the amount of time people live as 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, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20498044.

Population Ageing:

  • There will be 500,000 centenarians by 2066 in the UK, DWP, 2011.
  • The UK will add almost 100,000 more centenarians between 2012 and 2037.
  • 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.
  • The UK will add an extra city the size of London between 2012 and 2037 consisting entirely of over-60s (ONS, 2012).
  • One person will turn 65 every 41 seconds in the UK, http://www.actuarialpost.co.uk/article/longevity%E2%80%99s-top-3-challenges-5037.htm
  • 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. http://www.actuarialpost.co.uk/article/longevity%E2%80%99s-top-3-challenges-5037.htm
  • Census 2011: 1 in 6 people in England and Wales are over 65 years.
  • By 2020 over half of all voters will be over 50 years of age.
  • 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 2011 figures reveal particularly vigorous increase in number of over-90′s rising from 13,000 in 1911 to 430,000 in 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, 2008 National Population Projections, Office of National Statistics, 21 October 2009.
  • 100,000 people get winter fuel allowance even though they earn over £100,000, Howker and Malik, The Jilted Generation, 2010.
  • Winter Fuel Allowance cost £2.7bn in 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
  • State pension liability passes £3.8 TRILLION, (£150k per household), Office of National Statistics, April 2012


  • 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 Money Fears Survey, 2012
  • The average student is likely to leave university in debt to the tune of £42,000 for a three year undergraduate course from September 2012.

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