Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

The UK’s natural population will begin to decline by the middle of the decade, which will make the country dependent on migration to increase the working-age population, according to new data.

Falling birth rates and an aging population mean more people will die than are born annually by 2025, indicating a long-term reversal of a historic trend, forecasts released by the Office of National Statistics on Wednesday showed .

The figures indicate that the UK population is also aging faster than expected, raising concerns about the rising cost of care for the elderly, pensions and health for the state.

Previous estimates, based on 2018 data, predicted that deaths would not exceed births until 2043. But in 2025-26, 4,000 more people will die than are born in the UK, according to the US.

“It exposes the scale of the challenge we face in meeting the demands of the population while maintaining the size of the state to which we were accustomed in the past,” said Ben Zaranko, senior research economist at the Institute of Fiscal Affairs. Studies.

While the size of the population as a whole will increase by 3.2 per cent in the next decade, this will be due to a net 2.2 million people immigrating to the UK, according to the US.

According to his projections, based on assumptions about fertility, mortality and migration, the total population would start to shrink considering migration from 2058 onwards.

Madeleine Sumption, director of Oxford University’s Migration Observatory, said incoming migration tends to increase the working-age population and could boost public finances in the short term.

“It seems that net migration will help the UK to prevent population decline – which is something that is very difficult for governments to manage,” she said.

But Sumption added that net migration in the long run was not necessarily a “wonderful solution” to the aging of the population. “It alleviates the pressure of aging rather than resolving it.”

By 2045, the US has estimated the number of people aged 85 and older to almost double to 3.1 million – 4.3 percent of the population.

Some of the questions the government is facing in light of the shift are whether additional government spending on older people should be funded by raising income taxes, or other means such as levies on rent, capital or pensions.

Alistair McQueen, head of savings and retirement at Aviva, said: “The state will face a rising bill for health care, social care and pensions,” adding: “People will face greater individual responsibility for to provide for their longer, later life. “

While life expectancy is expected to rise, the ONS has lowered its projections compared to 2018. It now expects men and women to live 0.6 years and 0.4 years less than previously thought, respectively, in 2045.

Jonathan Portes, an economics professor at King’s College London, said it was “not unlikely” that the slowdown in life expectancy was due to a decade of austerity measures.

Over the next 10 years, the number of births in the UK will decline, the ONS said. It predicted that the total population in 2045 would be 71 million, 1.8 million less than previous estimates.

Portes said declining fertility rates could be linked to a lack of affordable childcare, poor work and insecure housing that are preventing young people from having children.

“If your economic and social infrastructure is not such that young people can have as many children as they would otherwise want, you are doing something wrong,” he said.

“We need to make this a society where young people with low and middle incomes feel supported to have children.”

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