Back to all papers

Grey Power: Young people missing from politics

This report investigates the ageing of British national and local political representatives, compares UK political representation internationally, and asks whether younger generations need political representatives that understand their generations’s plight through lived experience. Data sources include:

  • Parliamentary Data Platform Members API
  • House of Commons Register of Members’ Financial Interests
  • ONS Population Estimates
  • EveryPolitician
  • UN Population Prospects

Key Findings:

While the median age of the general population was 40 in 2019, the median age of members of the House of Commons elected at last year’s general election was 51, and the median age of members of the House of Lords rose by more than a decade between the 1979 and 2019 elections, from 60 to 72.

70% of current members of parliament (MPs), are between the ages of 40 and 59 and a whopping 86% of members of the House of Lords are now over the age of 60.

While good progress has been made on gender representation (women now make up 33% of MPs), and ethnicity (10% of MPs now come from ethnic minority backgrounds), virtually no progress has been made in increasing the share of MPs who belong to younger age groups.

Since 1979 there have been more newly elected MPs who are aged over 50 than 18–29 years of age. More recent elections have also seen more over-60s elected than 18–29 year-olds, firmly cementing the Boomer generation at the heart of political representation. In fact, 18–29 year-olds currently account for 15% of the entire population but have just 17 MPs of this age group representing them, equivalent to 3% of all MPs.

A similar pattern has also emerged for local councillors, with a median age of 59 compared to the population median age of 39/40.