This series of blog posts by author Patti Digh will focus on aging in the countries whose wines we will taste at our Wine Around the World event on Thursday, October 12, 2017. Purchase tickets here! Wine Around the World 2017.
An Aging Population is Transforming Britain
By 2040, nearly one in seven Britons will be over 75, according to a recent study, which also reveals that almost a third of people born today in the UK can expect to live to 100. In 2014, the average age in the UK exceeded 40 for the first time. As the baby boomer generation enters retirement, the UK will also reach a dramatic demographic turning point: 2017 will see the ratio of non-workers to workers start to rise for the first time since the early 1980s.
This vastly improved life expectancy, which is growing by five hours a day, was one of the great triumphs of the last century. It is now, however, the source of the greatest challenges – and opportunities – of this era, for the UK and many other countries around the world.
Demographic change of this scale requires a long-term perspective. This ageing population brings great opportunities – but also challenges. The tax burden associated with an aging society and higher dependency ratio – the ratio of non-workers to workers – will rise to £15billion a year by 2060.
How will Britain cope? Further increases in the state pension age, as the government is currently considering, will not be enough. The aging population will also need to pursue full employment to maintain the “effective” dependency ratio for many decades to come, and of course the main beneficiaries of this will be disabled and older workers who are struggling to return to the labour market.
In the absence of governmental long-term responses, aging baby boomers in the UK are seizing the reins for the second time. When they were teenagers, this generation transformed the morals and structure of the 1960s with their mantra of “I want.” Their new mantra is “I need” and, thanks to both low birth rates and high life expectancies, their voice is once again the dominant one.