UK population grows to 60,975,000
Population: by gender and age, mid-2007
The resident population of the UK was 60,975,000 in mid-2007. The average age was 39 years, up from 37 in 1997. Children aged under 16 represented around one in five of the total population, around the same proportion as those of retirement age .
The diagram above is a representation of the age and sex structure of the population, known as a population pyramid. Each bar represents a particular single year of age and the length shows the population of that age. The structure of the pyramid is determined by births, deaths and migration.
Up to the age of 72, the number of males and females are fairly equal. At the top of the pyramid, from the age of 73 onwards, females outnumber males.This is shown by longer bars on the female side of the pyramid. The ratio of females to males increases progressively from 1.2 at age 73, to nearly three by the age of 90. This reflects the higher life expectancy of women and higher male mortality during the Second World War.
Further down the pyramid, people of working age (aged 16 to 64 for males and 16 to 59 for females) represent 62 per cent of the total mid-2007 population. Of those people within this age group, 52 per cent were aged below 40, whereas the remaining 48 per cent were aged between 40 and 59/64 years.
In addition to increased life expectancy, a number of other factors contribute to population ageing. The population pyramid shows the 'bulge' of the 'baby boomers' of the 1960s moving into the older age bands. Furthermore women born during the peak years immediately after World War Two have now reached retirement age (at 60 years). Men born during this period will reach retirement age in 2012 (at 65 years).
A sharp tapering of the pyramid for people aged 30 to 36 reflects the low fertility in the mid to late 1970s. Another narrowing of the pyramid appears between the ages of five and 19 reflecting the low fertility rates during the late 1980s and 1990s. The number of births dropped to 663,000 in the year to mid-2002, but increased steadily from mid-2003 onwards broadening the base of the pyramid.
Notes: Average age - The 'median' average has been used here which means half the population are older and half the population are younger.
People of 'retirement age' are those aged 65 and over for males and 60 and over for females.
Estimates of the very elderly can be found by following the link in Related Links.