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Press Release

For Immediate Release 28th October 2016

New analysis shows 60s who join a gym more likely to join a religious group

Think Tank’s longitudinal analysis also found that over 60s who join a political party are also significantly more likely to join a religious group like a church, synagogue or mosque.

Ahead of their annual ‘Future of Ageing’ Conference on Wednesday, 9th November in Central Hall Westminster, the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) have conducted new analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and found that over 60s who join a gym or a political party are more like to also join a religious group.

Analysis of ELSA records from 2004-2014 by ILC-UK Research Fellow Dr Cesira Urzi Brancati found that:

  • Over 60s who join a gym are 4% more likely to also join a religious group, even when accounting for the trend in older people becoming more active
  • Over 60s who join a political party are 8% more likely to also join a religious group

The analysis of older people’s behaviour also found that there has been a marked decline in the number of 60-70 year olds belonging to a religious group in the last decade. Since 2002, 65-69 year olds are 7% less likely to claim that they belong to a religious group; 60-64 year olds are 6% less likely to claim that they belong to a religious group.

The ILC-UK also found that belonging to a religious group has a small, but positive impact on 60-70’s sense of worth and happiness:

  • When asked, ‘On a scale from 1 to 10, to what extent do you feel things you do in your life are worthwhile’ 60-64 year olds who are members of a religious group reported an average of 7.9; the average for those not members of a religious group was 7.4
  • For 65-69 year olds, the average response for those in a religious group was 8.2; for the non-religious group, it was 7.6
  • When asked ‘On a scale from 1 to 10, how happy did you feel yesterday’, religious 60-64 year olds on average reported 7.7 whilst the non-religious group average was 7.3
  • For 65-69 year olds, the average response for those in a religious group was 7.9, whilst the non-religious group average was 7.6


As the Church of England considers dropping its legal requirements for weekly Sunday services in light of declining attendance figures,
ILC-UK analysis suggests that outreach programmes by religious groups looking to grow their congregations might best be focused on over 60s who have recently started hitting the gym or campaigning with their local political party (of any affiliation).

The ILC-UK’s annual Future of Ageing Conference will consider how the challenges posed by the UK’s rapidly ageing population will affect health and social care; housing; pensions and personal finance; and wider social issues such as the future of faith in our rapidly ageing society.

Dave Eaton, Policy and Public Affairs Officer, ILC-UK said:

Every aspect of our society and economy is affected by our rapidly ageing population. This analysis might suggest that efforts to boost membership across a range of organisations could be best focused on targeting a new generation of over 60s looking to become more active and try something new. Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury will be delving into the future of faith in an ageing society in more details at the ILC-UK’s annual Future of Ageing Conference this November.


Notes

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is organising its second annual all day conference on The Future of Ageing, on Wednesday, 9th November 2016 at Central Hall, Westminster.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • John Cridland CBE, Head of the Independent State Pension Age Review
  • The Rt Rev. and the Rt Hon. the Lord Carey of Clifton, Archbishop of Canterbury 1991-2002
  • Professor Sarah Harper, Director, Oxford Institute of Population Ageing
  • Linda Woodall, Director of Life Insurance and Financial Advice, and sponsor of the Ageing Population project, Financial Conduct Authority
  • Dr Margaret McCartney, GP and regular contributor on Radio 4’s Inside Health
  • Dwayne Johnson, Director of Social Care and Health at Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council
  • John Pullinger CB, National Statistician, UK Statistics Authority
  • Jonathan Stevens, Senior Vice President, Thought Leadership, AARP
  • David Sinclair, Director, ILC-UK
  • Dr Islene Araujo de Carvalho, Senior Policy and Strategy Adviser, Department of Ageing and Life Course, WHO

Contact

For more information, contact Dave Eaton at ILC-UK on 020 7340 0440 or davideaton@ilcuk.org.uk

ILC-UK are grateful to McCarthy & Stone for their sponsorship of this conference. Further support has kindly been received from Action on Hearing Loss, Drink Wise, Age Well, and Lip Reading Practice.

The conference will take place at: Central Hall Westminster, Storey's Gate, London, SW1H 9NH

To purchase your ticket, please click here to access our 2016 event page.http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/events/the_future_of_ageing_2016

On Friday 12th February 2016, the ILC-UK published a report based on the information presented at the 2015 Future of Ageing conference, guest blogs written for our Future of Ageing series, and research and analysis from ILC-UK. To download the full report, please click here.

About ILC-UK

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.

We ask difficult questions and present new solutions to the challenges and opportunities of ageing. We undertake research and policy analysis and create a forum for debate and action.

We also host an annual Future of Ageing Conference to assemble representatives from Government, business, academia and civil society to discuss how the UK can meet the challenges and the opportunities of a rapidly ageing society.

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