Ageing population: The UK's average age has reached an all-time high as population grows at an above-average rate

 
Catherine Neilan
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Celebrating your 40th birthday? You're bang on the UK's average (Source: Getty)
The UK is older than it has ever been before.
Figures published today show the average age of the population now stands at 40 – the highest ever estimated. In 1974, the average person was a mere puppy, aged 33.9 years.
Wales has the oldest population within the union at 42.1 years, while Northern Ireland is the most youthful at 38 years, according to the ONS.
This growth of the older age groups has not happened equally for both sexes, however.
Because there has been more of an improvement in mortality rates for men, the number aged 75 and over has grown by 149 per cent since 1974. For women, that group has grown a relatively smaller 61 per cent.
Men have benefited from a drop in the number of smokers and advances in health treatments for circulatory illnesses, as well as their jobs becoming “less physical and safer”.
The same figures show that last year the UK's population grew at an above-average rate, boosted by a spike in net immigration.
As at the end of June 2014, the country's population is estimated at 64,596,800 – a 0.77 per cent increase on the previous year, according to the ONS.
This is above the 0.75 per cent growth of the past decade.
“Natural growth” - ie births and deaths – stood at 226,200 people, a drop of 1.9 per cent on last year.
Net immigration, meanwhile, accounted for 259,700 people during the 12 months – the highest level since 2011, and an increase of 41 per cent on the previous year.

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