The UK: An Ageing Population Higher Geography: Human Environments, Population
Aims of this case study…. At Higher you are expected to use named examples you have studied. E.g “for a named EMDC discuss the impacts a slow population growth has had on the country” By the end of this case study you should be able to: Discuss the population structure of the UK. Discuss the reasons for a slow population growth and an ageing population. Discuss the impacts of an ageing population. Discuss the solutions to an ageing population.
What is an Ageing population? An ageing population is caused by a decline in birth rates, an increase in life expectancy and a decline in death rates. The UK has an ageing population. This has led to a declining proportion of the population aged under 16 and an increasing proportion aged 65 and over. This can be easily identified on a population pyramid.
16% of the UK’s populati on is 65 and over. % Of population within age brackets shown
Reasons for an ageing population Declining fertility ratesIncreased life expectancy and declining death rates. Family planning and access to contraception means more control over having a family. Primary Health Care is accessible to all and cheap. E.g vaccinations and immunizations. It is expensive to bring up children in the UK. E.g Child care. Improvements in health care mean illness is diagnosed and treated effectively. Women have more rights and are better educated. High standard of living e.g central heating, good diet, exercise, education. Religion plays less of an influence to have a large family. Improved working conditions e.g no longer working down mines etc. Women want to pursue a career rather than give up work to raise children. Improvements in maternity care. Pensions mean people do not rely on children in old age. Less loss of life through natural disasters, conflict or disease.
Impact of an ageing population Its spokesman, Ben Harding, said: "The government must think much more about its strategy for an ageing population. They need to seriously think about involving older people in all types of services whether it be transport, urban regeneration, health or devolution.'' “With people living longer and longer because of medical and other advances, health experts believe the number of people suffering from debilitating conditions such as cancer and heart disease will grow and could mean a rising demand for nursing care.” “The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that the health impact could be enormous. It predicts a big rise in cancers, coronary heart disease, diabetes, dementia and other illnesses related to ageing” "Scotland is changing. Like many other European countries, we are living longer and society is becoming progressively older.” Scottish Parliament.
“The Demographic Time- Bomb” Housing With an increase in numbers of elderly, more sheltered housing provision will be needed. Housing providers will need to be more aware of the need for adapted housing.$$$$$ Transport Elderly need to look to public transport to meet their needs as health declines and especially vision. $$$$$ Will free public transport for the over 60’s be scrapped?$$$$$ Nursing Care Very elderly people will require nursing or residential homes.$$$$$$ With less family there will be more pressure on family members to care for elderly relatives.
Continued… Consumerism Health “By 2031, they predict that the number of cases of coronary heart disease will increase by 44%, the number of cases of heart failure will increase by 54%…” Pension Short-Fall “When pensions were introduced in the early 1900s there were 25 people of working age in Britain for every retired person. In 2024 there will be less than three. (Source: Office of National Statistics)“ Workforce In 1999 the working population amounted to 47.8% of the total UK population. By 2030 it will be 44.5%. This could mean a shortfall of two million workers. (Source: Government Actuary's Department)(Source: Government Actuary's Department) DD
Solutions “Strategy for an ageing population” released by the Scottish parliament 13.3.2006 Focus on immigration. Recognize the skills and opportunities that older people can offer. Pro natal strategies need to be introduced. Raising the age for state pensions “The United Kingdom is raising the age for women to that of men.”