Europe is going grey, with the percentage of over 65’s projected to almost double by 2060. The International Longevity Centre-UK's (ILC-UK) new EU factpack, Europe’s Ageing Demography, supported by the specialist insurer Partnership, examines the pattern of ageing across Europe, and sets the UK experience in to an international context.

This accessible factpack of statistics reveals the areas in which the UK enjoys relative success, and the points where it falls short.  It shows that while the UK has the lowest proportion of over 65s living in cold housing during winter, UK pensioners are at greater risk of poverty in retirement than their counterparts in Germany, France, Spain, and Romania. 

If you use gross replacement rate (i.e. how much of the typical income the state pension replaces) as a measure, you will find that while those in Greece receive almost 100% of their pre-retirement income and the EU average is around half, those in the UK only receive around a third.

The factpack presents evidence on the costs of ageing, showing the expected trajectories of pension, health and care expenditures in the European Union. Here it finds that the UK has one of the highest levels of expenditure on social protection for old age in Europe. The UK spends the equivalent of £2,860 (€3,611) per person on social protection in old age while the EU average is £2,263 (€2,857) (2).

Europe’s ageing has profound implications for individuals, governments and businesses, and the UK must adapt to a continent where it is projected that almost 1 in 3 people will be over the age of 65, and more than 1 in 10 will be over the age of 80 by 2060 (1). The factpack provides the hard evidence which will be crucial for guiding both Westminster and Brussels in their responses to the demographic challenge.

As part of the ILC’s Global Alliance conference this week, Europe’s Ageing Demography is being made available to the UK press. The full report will be officially launched in Brussels at the European Economic and Social Committee on the 5th of November. To register to attend, please click here.

The EU factpack is published as part of ILC-UK’s Population Patterns seminar series, supported by Partnership. The series considers the evidence base of our changing demography and explores how policy makers need to respond to demographic change.

Helen Creighton of ILC-UK said:

"The Government aspires for the UK to be the best place in the world to grow old. But this new factpack shows that whilst the UK is by no means the worst place in Europe to grow old, we’ve got a lot to do to top the European league. Government is right to aspire to be the best. But to achieve that we must look at and learn lessons from our European colleagues."

Richard Willets, Director of Longevity at Partnership commented:

“As with the UK, the rest of Europe is rapidly going grey!  This raises a unique set of challenges for government, business and individuals who not only need to plan for their own later life but also need to put structures in place that will help society at large.  The launch of the European Fact Pack provides us with an excellent opportunity to review the success – and failures – of other countries which will allow us to build an appropriate and robust system for our own older population.”

Helen Creighton at ILC-UK on 07531164886
Lee Blackwell, Head of PR, Partnership on 020 7398 5986/07950798072

1. Projections from Eurostat, show that while in 2010 16% of Europeans were over 65, by 2060 this is likely to rise to 29.3% of Europeans. Projections also show 4.1% of the European population was over 80, this figure will rise to 11.5% by 2060.

2. All currency conversions done using on 22 October 2014.

Europe’s Ageing Demography will be available from the ILC-UK website from 00.01 Wednesday 5th November Advan.ce copies available upon request, please email
Europe’s Ageing Demography will be published in Brussels on Wednesday 5th November 2014.



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