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Society | The State of Ageing 2023-24

Over and above working and caring, we explore important contributions older people make to society. We will be releasing more detailed data and analysis in 2024.

Group of older people chatting at a table

The State of Ageing 2023-24 is the most detailed, varied and up-to-date report about ageing in England. 

You can navigate through the full report using the purple content footer below. Hovering over the graphs reveals more data, and you can get more information by clicking the ‘find out more’ buttons. 

Key points

As we age, we continue to make huge contributions to society. People aged 50 and over are the most likely to volunteer, vote and provide unpaid care. However significant barriers remain. Ageism is embedded in society and causes significant harm to older individuals, while also widening inequalities.

Older people tend to have high levels of both belonging to and satisfaction in their local area. However, the ongoing lack of investment in many of the key services relied on by people may be detrimental to health and wellbeing. The growing pace of digitalisation is also leaving many older people behind. Building an Age-friendly Movement, including more local authorities signing up to the UK network of Age-friendly Communities, will be vital for creating a society where we can all age well, and where ageist attitudes are no longer commonplace.

Civic and social participation 

  • Older people are more likely to vote than younger people, although this is also affected by social class with people from higher social grades (e.g. AB) more likely to vote at all ages. 
  • People aged 65-74 continue volunteer, at least once a month, at the highest rates - with people in the least deprived areas still most likely to volunteer. 
  • By 2021/22 rates of formal volunteering had not recovered from a drop at the start of the pandemic, whilst the initial boost in informal volunteering had not been sustained.  
  • People living in more deprived areas provide more hours of unpaid care and at younger ages than people living in less deprived areas. 
  • People aged 70 and over are just as likely to be concerned about climate change as young adults under 30, and people aged 50-69 are as likely to have made lifestyle changes because of these concerns as young adults under 30.  

 Ageism 

  • Around half (46%) of people aged over 50 report experiencing ageism in the last year.  
  • However, this is more common for people who are struggling financially (63%), people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds (58%), and especially Disabled people (up to 73% of those with conditions that affect their day to day activities a lot). 
  • Amongst people aged 51-70 who had felt badly treated because of their age in the previous 12 months, the area of life in which this was most commonly experienced was in employment – reported by 44% of men and 32% of women who said they had experienced ageism.  
  • In contrast, for more than four in ten people aged over 70 who reported ageism in the last year they said that this was when encountering media content or as a consumer. 
  • Women are more likely than men to report ageism in relation to health or social care and media content. 

Local communities 

  • While older people continue to have a greater sense of belonging to their local area than younger people, the proportion of people aged 65 and over who feel they belong has fallen to below pre-pandemic levels. 
  • As with belonging, older people tend to have greater satisfaction with their area than younger people, but the people most likely to feel unsafe in parks and public spaces during the day are women aged 55 and over. 
  • The limited data we have suggests that among older people those with Black Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds may be less likely to both feel satisfied with their local communities and feel they belong to their neighbourhoods than people with White backgrounds, but samples are small and we need better data. 
  • The number of Age-friendly Communities - places that commit to enabling people to live a good later life – has more than doubled in the UK since 2020. 
  • However there has been reduced investment by local authorities in both preventative social care services and many community services relied on by older people, for example libraries and public toilets. These services also play a role in maintaining good health and wellbeing, thereby reducing the need for health and social care services in the longer term. 

Digital inclusion 

  • A quarter of people aged 65 and over don’t have access to the internet at home. 
  • However, having the essential digital skills may be becoming more of a barrier to older people than online access: only half of people aged over 75 have these skills and 43% of internet users aged 65 and over are limited in the activities they do online.  
  • While the government set out its Digital Inclusion Strategy 2014, since then there has been little meaningful progress in terms of ensuring that everyone is able to access key information and services that are increasingly provided online.    

 

What needs to happen

The UK government should: 

  • Establish a Commissioner for Older People and Ageing to deliver a strategy which gives a voice to the groups and issues currently marginalised, and ensure that policymaking across government considers the long-term needs of our ageing population. This strategy would have a clear objective in reducing inequality in later life.
  • Build on the UK commitment to the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing to creating and supporting local communities where people can age well by empowering local government to respond to demographic change. Ensure that every local authority has the resources it needs to become an Age-friendly Community and can appoint an elected councillor for ageing and older people.
  • Recognise and tackle growing ethnic inequalities through a new race equality strategy that complements work on an ageing population with plans to reduce ethnic inequalities across the life course. The strategy would also focus on the ethnicity data gap – outlining ways we can develop data that improves our understanding of racism and inequality and ensures that ethnicity data reporting is mandatory in all official and statutory statistics and data monitoring. Doing this will ensure that the experiences of individual communities are made visible by reporting on specific ethnic groups rather than broad categories like Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (‘BAME’).  

Local authorities should:   

  • Commit to becoming an Age-friendly Community, using their convening power to bring stakeholders and residents together to consider what can be done and joining the UK network of Age-Friendly Communities to learn and share with other localities. 
  • Facilitate opportunities to listen to and include older people in shaping local services, including older people from communities that are seldom heard. 
  • Appoint a councillor to act as an ageing and older people’s champion, who can also ensure the public sector equality duty around age as a protected characteristic is considered in strategy. 
  • Take steps to reduce the digital divide in the delivery local services and its impact on older and other affected groups in the delivery of local services and information. 

Individuals should:  

  • Think about their own beliefs and attitudes and reflect whether they are unintentionally ageist – including taking the ‘Are you Ageist?’ quiz
  • Use the online resources available at AgeWithoutLimits.org to learn more about ageism, the harm it causes, and how to challenge ageism when you come across it. 

Civic and social participation

In 2021/22, informal volunteering had dropped to pre-pandemic levels, yet formal volunteering levels hadn’t recovered

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  • People aged 65-74 are consistently the most likely to volunteer formally (giving unpaid help through groups, clubs or organisations) and informally (giving unpaid help to other people who are not relatives, such as shopping for a neighbour), at least once a month. 
  • During the pandemic there was a significant drop in formal volunteering, and an initial spike, then a drop, in informal volunteering. In 2021/22 rates of formal volunteering continued to decline for all age groups, other than among people aged 65 and over, for whom there was a small increase. However, in 2021/22 the figures for formal volunteering still remained far below pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, in 2021/22 rates of informal volunteering fell back to below, or level with, pre-pandemic rates for all ages. 
  • Overall, this means that fewer older people contributed informally and formally in 2021/22 – the second year of the pandemic, than in either the previous year, or the year before the pandemic. 

People in the least deprived areas remain the most likely to volunteer – although the gap is much smaller for informal volunteering

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  • There was a big difference in 2021/22 in the proportion of older people who formally volunteer, depending on where they lived. When places are ranked by their Index of Multiple Deprivation scores, and divided into five groups (or quintiles), this shows that over a quarter (26%) of people aged 50 and over living in the least deprived places (by Index of Multiple Deprivation quintile) formally volunteered, compared to 10% living in the most deprived quintile. 
  • The gap is much smaller for informal volunteering by people aged 50 and over, with a six percentage point difference in the rates of volunteering between most and least deprived areas (25% compared to 31%).  

We also know that: 

  • People in more deprived areas are more likely to have caring responsibilities and issues with poor health, which are two of the major barriers to volunteering. We have produced a guide for organisations to implement age-friendly and inclusive volunteering which addresses some of the barriers people may face as they age. 
  • People living in rural areas are more likely to volunteer than people living in urban areas. 
  • Our further analysis of the data shows that the pattern in the chart above may not apply to people aged 50 and over with BAME backgrounds. Although the sample size is small, the data indicates that among older people with BAME backgrounds those who live in the second most deprived quintile areas (i.e. 20-40% most deprived), were the most likely to volunteer. In this quintile, 45% of people aged 50 or over with BAME backgrounds volunteered formally or informally, compared to 37% of people aged 50 or over with BAME backgrounds in the least deprived areas. This may reflect the greater presence of BAME-led community organisations , and the important role of faith organisations, in some of the urban areas where minority ethnic populations are more likely to live. 
  • The low sample size of surveys, especially among older people, means it is not possible to determine differences in rates of volunteering between minority ethnic groups.  

People living in more deprived areas provide more hours of unpaid care and at younger ages

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  • Caring in the least deprived 10% of neighbourhoods is largely concentrated between the ages of 50 and 69, between 10% and 17% of people in each five-year age band provide unpaid care, the majority of them for nine hours or less per week. 
  • By contrast, in the most deprived 10% of areas caring is more evenly spread throughout adulthood, and the percentage of carers providing the highest level of care (50 hours per week) exceeds the percentage providing the lowest level of care (nine hours or less per week) at every age from 25 onwards. In the least deprived neighbourhoods, the proportion of people providing the highest level of care exceeds that providing the lowest level from the age of 70.  
  • Between the ages of 50 and 70, people living in the most deprived neighbourhoods are at least twice as likely to provide 35 or more hours of unpaid care per week compared to those in the least deprived neighbourhoods.  

We also know that: 

  • Unpaid caring in itself is linked to poorer health.  
  • Older Disabled people are more likely than older non-Disabled people to provide unpaid care. 
  • Older women from the minority ethnic backgrounds that experience the worst health are particularly likely to provide spend high amounts of time caring. 

People aged 70 and over are as likely to be concerned about the climate crisis as people aged 16-29

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  • There is little difference across the age groups in the extent to which people are worried about climate change except that 30-49 year olds are two to three percentage points more likely to be concerned than other age groups, and 18-29 year olds are three to five percentage points less likely to be unworried.  

We also know that: 

  • Amongst people who were worried about the impact of climate change, people aged 70 and over (83%) were most likely to say that they were worried about the impact on future generations (average 74%), whereas people aged 16-29 were more concerned than average about being directly impacted by extreme weather, and people aged 16-49 were more concerned than average with the lack of progress by governments and big business. 
  • However, there is growing evidence that the climate crisis will have a disproportionate impact on older people, especially people aged over 75. This is because older people find it harder to regulate body temperature, putting them at greater risk of adverse health effects during a heatwave. Higher temperatures may reduce air quality, which in turn can aggravate existing cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. High air pollution days have been linked to higher hospital admissions for older people, with higher mortality rates. Older people with reduced cognition or mobility need more support in keeping cool and hydrated, and risks are highest for older people living in care homes or alone. 
  • Older people are also more likely to be affected by flooding, due to the high percentage of older people living in coastal areas.  

People aged over 50 are more likely than those under 30 to have taken action to tackle the climate crisis

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  • People aged 30-49 were the most likely to have taken action to help tackle climate change (meaning that they were least likely to have taken no action). 
  • People aged 50 and over were more likely than those aged 16-29 to have taken action (meaning that they are less likely to have taken no action). 
  • People aged 50-69 were the most likely to have made changes to their home, and people aged 70 and over to their gardens, reflecting higher rates of home ownership among people aged 50 and over. 
  • People aged 70 and over were less likely than other ages to have made changes to shopping habits or travel but were more likely to have supported environmental charities and local groups. 

We also know that: 

Older people are more likely to vote in elections across all social grades

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  • In all age groups voting is related to social class – so that people with higher social grades (e.g. AB) are more likely to vote than people with lower social grades. 
  • For example, 78% of people aged 55 and over in social class AB voted in the 2019 general election, compared to 63% of people in social class DE – a 15 percentage point gap. The size of this gap is consistent with the gap for the other two age groups. 
  • In addition, voter turnout increases with age for all social classes: there is an 18 to 20 percentage point difference in the proportion of people aged 18-34 and those aged 55 and older who voted in the 2019 general election olds in all four social classes.  

We also know that: 

  • Despite concerns that the introduction of voter ID would disenfranchise many older people who do not have the required documentation, younger people are more likely than older people to be put off by the voter ID requirement. The voter ID requirement may increase gaps in turnout related to social class – with 17% of people in social grade ABC1 saying this makes it less likely they will vote compared to 21% of people in C2DE. 

Ageism

The section above shows older people contributing to society in various ways. Despite this, ageism is embedded in society and is experienced in the everyday lives of older people. More than half of adults (55%) agree that the UK is ageist. The data presented below represents those who have reported their experience of ageism. Because ageism isn’t always recognised, even by those who experience it, it is likely to be more prevalent than the data shows.  

People’s experiences of ageism include institutional ageism, interpersonal ageism and self-directed ageism. All three types of ageism result in harm to individuals. For example, institutional ageism is evident in discriminatory employment practices, unequal access to health care and the failure to design and build age-friendly homes; interpersonal ageism can result in patronising treatment when accessing services, and self-directed ageism may limit an older person from taking up training or seeking treatment for worrying health symptoms. Ageism also has a negative impact on the economy and society as a whole, through, for example, higher economic inactivity rates and by exacerbating health inequalities. This is why we have launched the Age Without Limits campaign, which aims to change the way we all think about ageing and support a growing movement of people and organisations working to make society more age-inclusive.  

 

Almost half of people over 50 report that they have experienced ageism in the last year, but frequency varies by personal characteristics

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  • 45% of people over the age of 50 report that they have experienced ageism in the last year – equivalent to 9.3 million people in England – although for more than half of these people (27% of the total), this was only experienced rarely.  
  • Almost one in five (18%) people over the age of 50 report that they have experienced ageism at least sometimes in the last year –equivalent to almost 4 million people in England. 
  • The frequency with which ageism is reported is the same for the 51-70 and over 70 age groups, showing that ageism is not reserved for the oldest people in society. 
  • But some groups of older people are more likely to report ageism than others:  
    • While a third (32%) of people over 50 who are struggling financially reported experiencing ageism at least sometimes (that is, sometimes, a lot of the time or almost all the time) in the last year, this applied to only 8% of people in this age group who are living comfortably.  
    • 18% of White people over 50 reported experiencing ageism at least sometimes in the last year (equivalent to 3.3 million people in England), compared to a quarter (26%) of people with BAME backgrounds in this age group (equivalent to over half a million people). 
    • The biggest difference in the likelihood of reporting ageism for people over 50 is between those who have no long term conditions or illnesses (13% of whom said they had experienced ageism at least sometimes in the last year) and those who have long term conditions or illnesses that affect day-to-day activities a lot (41% of whom said they had experienced ageism at least sometimes), a more than three-fold difference.  

We also know that: 

  • The extent to which long term conditions affect day to day activities for people over 50 also plays a role in the likelihood of reporting ageism: 13% with long term conditions that don’t affect day-to-day activities and almost three in ten (29%) with long term conditions that affect day-to-day activities a little reported experiencing ageism at least sometimes in the last year (this compares with the 41% who have long term conditions that affect day-to-day activities a lot).  
  • Our data on reports of ageism as well as census data on the prevalence of disability (see Technical Report) allows us to estimate that two million Disabled people aged over 50 experienced ageism at least sometimes over the last year. This means that half of those who have reported experiencing ageism are disabled – even though they make up just over a quarter (28%) of this age group.  
  • It is perhaps unsurprising that Disabled people experience ageism much more frequently than non-Disabled people because there are strong links between ageism and ableism, with discrimination on the grounds of age frequently based on actual or perceived health decline. This is an example of intersectionality when two or more characteristics that confer disadvantage in society combine. 
  • The higher prevalence of ageism experienced by people who are struggling financially or who have BAME backgrounds are further examples of intersectionality

The age and gender of older people affects how frequently they experience ageism in different areas of life

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  • Amongst people aged 51-70 who felt they had been badly treated because of their age in the previous 12 months, 37% reported that this had happened in employment or work.  
  • This was higher than for other areas of life but varied considerably by gender, with men (44%) more likely to report ageism in work than women (32%) – likely reflecting that women are less likely to be working or looking for work at this age. 
  • Differences in experiences of ageism by gender in the 51-70 age group were smaller for other areas of life, although women were more likely than men to report that they had experienced ageism in health or social care (27% vs 22%) and in media representations (social media, television, movies or news reports; 34% vs 30%). 
  • People aged over 70 who had experienced discrimination on the basis of age in the last 12 months were most likely to have experienced it in media representations (44%) or as a consumer (43%; for example in shops, services, finance, insurance). There were minimal differences by gender in these aspects. 
  • The third most common area of life in which people aged over 70 reported age discrimination was in health and social care (29% of those who had experienced ageism). As with the 51-70 year age group, this was reported more commonly by women (31%) than by men (26%). 

We also know that: 

  • The data presented above captures experiences of institutional and inter-personal ageism, but is unlikely to capture self-directed ageism. This type of ageism results in people modifying their thinking and behaviour as a result of exposure to ageist messages. 
  • There are many ways that people can take a stand to change the way people think about ageing with our Age Without Limits campaign. 

Local communities

In 2021/22 the percentage of over 65s who felt they belonged to their community fell back to below pre-pandemic levels

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Older people continue to have a greater sense of belonging to their neighbourhoods than younger people. 

  • Early in the pandemic there was a boost in neighbourhood belonging for people of all ages, with an uptick in the percentage who feel they very or fairly strongly belong to their immediate neighbourhoods between 2019/20 and 2020/21. 
  • However, in 2021/22 the percentage of people who feel like they belong to their neighbourhood dropped from the previous high point for all ages – and for those aged under 25 and over 65 levels dropped to below pre-pandemic levels. 

We also know that: 

As the pandemic progressed, older men became more isolated in terms of having someone to rely on

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  • Women of all ages above 20 years old are more likely than men to report that they have someone to rely on. 
  • Among men aged 50 and over, those aged 65-74 were least likely to say they had someone to rely on in 2021/22. This is also the age at which there is the biggest gap between men (66%) and women (78%) in the proportion having someone to rely on.

We also know that: 

  • The situation for men aged 65 and over appears to have worsened as the pandemic progressed, with a three to six percentage point drop in the those reporting that they have someone to rely on between 2020/21 and 2021/22, whereas this stayed more constant for women of this age. 
  • Men in their fifties and sixties are more likely to report poor relationships with family and friends than women, and nearly one in ten (9%) men in this age group say that they have no friends
  • The largest increase in numbers of people living alone between 2011 and 2021 has been amongst men aged 65 and over – an increase of 300,000 - resulting in a growing need for inclusive community support for men as they age. 

Older people’s satisfaction with their neighbourhood has dropped to pre-pandemic levels

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  • As with belonging, older people tend to have greater satisfaction with their area than younger people. 
  • Following an upturn in the first year of the pandemic for all ages, satisfaction with their neighbourhood fell for all age groups in the second year of the pandemic except for those aged 75 and over – and for people aged 50-74 this dipped below pre-pandemic levels. 

We also know that: 

  • Our analysis by ethnicity shows that people with BAME backgrounds tend to be less satisfied with their local area than White people (75% of people aged 65 and over with BAME backgrounds are very or fairly satisfied with their local area compared with 83% of White people in this age group).  
  • We also see that the difference between younger and older people in the likelihood of being satisfied is smaller in BAME than White communities: comparing people aged under 50 and people aged 65 and over, there is a three-percentage point difference in the proportion who are very or fairly satisfied in BAME communities and an eight-percentage-point difference in White communities). 

There is insufficient data to analyse this further by ethnicity, but we can predict from the variation in other measures that this will differ between minority ethnic groups. 

Older women feel particularly unsafe alone in parks and spaces during the day

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  • As might be expected, at all ages, more women than men feel unsafe in parks and other public spaces even during daylight hours. 
  • Younger women under 35 and older women over 55 feel particularly unsafe, with 21% of women aged 55 and over feeling unsafe out alone during the day. 

We also know that: 

  • Over a quarter (26%) of both men and women aged 55-64 had avoided going to particular streets or areas in the previous month due to safety concerns, and almost a quarter (23%) of women aged 75 and over had avoided leaving their home alone. 
  • More than a third of women (35%) aged 55-64 had avoided walking in quiet places or open spaces – the highest percentage of any age group. 
  • People with BAME backgrounds, Disabled people and people living in more deprived areas (of all ages) also feel less safe than average: older women who live in poorer communities, who are disabled and/or from minority ethnic backgrounds may face additional barriers to feeling safe in public spaces. 
  • Public spaces that allow chance encounters with a diversity of people are important in reducing social isolation among older people - hence safe, well designed public spaces are vital in communities. 

The number of Age-friendly Communities in the UK has more than doubled in four years

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  • An Age-friendly Community is a place that enables people to age well and live a good later life. Places across the UK make a political commitment to making their community a better place in which to age. They consider the eight domains in the World Health Organisation’s Age-friendly Framework and follow a four-step programme cycle to embed age-friendly ways of working. 
  • The UK Network of Age-friendly Communities has been supported by the Centre for Ageing Better since 2017, building on the Urban Ageing Consortium set up in 2010. 
  • The number of communities (local authorities or wider administrative areas) in the UK Network of Age-friendly Communities has increased from 16 in 2017 to 79 today -  covering 8.4 million people aged 50 or over. There are network members in all four UK nations, including in urban, rural and coastal areas. 

We also know that: 

  • Local authorities are required, under the public sector equality duty, to consider or think about how their policies or decisions affect people with different characteristics protected by the Equality Act 2010, which includes on the basis of age. 
  • Yet there is insufficient investment in preventative approaches and no new national funding streams or programmes which support local authorities to focus on older people and healthy ageing outside of health and social care budgets. 
  • Older people are more likely to vote in local elections yet over a third (39%) of those aged 50 and over in England feel the voices of older people are not represented or heard regarding changes and developments where they live. 

Local authorities’ spending on many community services continues to decline

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  • Since the early days of austerity measures in 2010, many community services funded by local authorities have seen a reduction in budgets: in 2022/23 spending on local parks and open spaces is 20% lower than in 2011/11 while spending on public toilets has been halved. This is despite concerns that a lack of public toilets prevents up to one in five older people from leaving their house - meaning their availability is an important access issue. 
  • Spending on community development and library services is also almost half (45%) what it was in 2010/11. 
  • Between 2016/17 and 2019/20 pre-pandemic funding levels levelled out or even increased slightly for some services including: open spaces, culture and heritage, and community development. However, it continued to decrease for other services including community centres and public halls, libraries and public toilets - all of which are particularly important for older people. 
  • In the first year of the pandemic, there was a drop in funding for all the services shown with the exception of community centres and public halls – which played an important role as community hubs during the pandemic, and in many communities have continued to provide vital services during the cost of living crisis, including warm spaces
  • While funding for some services (open spaces, community centres and community development), has recovered since the pandemic, the funding for other services (including culture and heritage, libraries and public toilets) has declined or not fully recovered. 

We also know that: 

  • Grants from central government to local authorities declined by 40% in real terms between 2009/10 and 2019/20, followed by a reversal in 2020/21 and 2021/22 due to additional funding during the pandemic. So, by 2021/22 funding had reduced by 31% since 2009/10 (excluding COVID-19 grants). 
  • However, since then local authorities have been experiencing a double burden of cost increases that are higher than general inflation  and increased demand for services (including for social care, homelessness services, and school transport) meaning that gaps between costs and available funding are increasing. 
  • Local authorities therefore have been forced to redirect funding towards statutory services, particularly social care which in 2019/20 made up 80% of local authority spending, up from 52% in 2010/11. This has resulted in large real terms spending cuts in discretionary services including 37% cuts in cultural and related services (such as those in the chart above), 32% cuts in non-schools education and 26% cuts in housing services. 
  • The most deprived areas in England have seen some of the deepest cuts in neighbourhood services 
  • Funding pressures have had a marked impact on service provision in that spending is concentrated on supporting fewer people; there are problems with workforce retention; spending on preventative social care services has decreased; and residents’ satisfaction levels for key services continue to fall.  
  • Reducing spending on prevention is particularly concerning as the places where people live have a substantial effect on health and wellbeing, and on health inequalities. A current government inquiry into prevention in health and social care concludes that there should be a determined focus on developing places that can prevent ill health.  

Digital inclusion

Digital exclusion is strongly associated with age: if you are older, you are less likely to have the internet at home or, if you do have it, to use it. However, its root causes are also structural and reflect social, economic and regional inequalities.  

Maintaining offline alternatives is vital to ensuring people who are not able to use the internet are not left behind. There are real benefits to many people of getting online, and a broadband connection has become an essential utility, just like electricity and water. 

Ofcom uses a triple lens of access, ability and affordability through which we can consider barriers to inclusion. 

 

Almost a third of people aged 65 and over do not use the internet at home

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  • Last year we reported a big increase in internet use among older people during the pandemic – an increase of over seven percentage points among people aged 75 and over. However, it is still the case that almost one in three people aged 65 and over either don’t have, or don’t use, the internet at home – an estimated 3.2 million people aged 65 and over in England. 

We also know that: 

Just a half of people aged 75 and over have all the basic digital skills to operate online

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  • Just 51% of people aged 75 and over have all eight basic digital skills needed to operate online, compared to 84% of 55-64 year olds (and 94% of 25-34 year olds).
  • Six in ten (62%) people aged 75 and over can set up WiFi connections on their devices – meaning that four in ten people in this age group face barriers to using online services. 
  • Three-quarters (76%) of people aged 75 and over are able to keep login information and passwords secure, meaning that a quarter of people in this age group are more vulnerable to online fraud. 

We also know that: 

  • Older people are more likely than average to use the internet in limited ways: 43% of internet users aged 65 or older (and 34% of those aged 55-64) have used the internet for only between one and four of thirteen key activities identified by Ofcom. This compares to 29% of all internet users surveyed. 
  • The percentage of older people able to use the internet has continued to increase since the start of the pandemic: in 2022 fewer than a third of people aged 75 and over had all eight basic digital skills.  
  • The increased digitalisation of services that has accelerated since the pandemic can therefore risk excluding older people who are less likely to have access to, and the skills to use, online services. The percentage of older people with basic digital skills should further increase as younger, more digitally literate, people age - but the skills required to participate in society will change as new technology is developed, resulting in an ongoing need to consider the digital inclusion of older people. 
  • Increasing automation of everyday services, for example the introduction of self-service tills in supermarkets, also risks reducing human contact and increasing social isolation. 
State of Ageing 2023

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Technical Report: State of Ageing 2023-24

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