The UK’s population has been steadily growing older and older, and it’s estimated that in 50 years, people over the age of 65 will make up just over a quarter of the population.

But how much does this picture change around the country? The average age in the UK is around 40 years old, but this drops to as low as 33 in cities and as high as 49 in some rural areas!

Here’s a closer look at how the UK’s generation split breaks down around the country.

The UK's youngest places 

The UK's youngest places

The UK’s youngest city is officially Manchester, with an average age of 33, followed by Slough and Nottingham (34). The average age in London was slightly older, at 36.

The top ten is dominated by large cities, as well as those with young migrant populations, as well as large student populations, such as Oxford and Cambridge.

The UK's oldest places

A table showing the UK's oldest places

Notably, seven of the top ten oldest places were coastal areas too, traditionally the kind of places people choose to retire to.

Biggest age drop (10 year change)

A table to show the biggest age drop (10 year change)

As we’ve mentioned, the overall population has steadily been growing older, with the average age increasing by two years over the last decade, but how does this look around the country?

62 areas out of 350 (18%) have seen their average age drop since 2008, with another two staying exactly the same.

On the other hand, the Derbyshire Dales is the area that has aged the most in the last ten years, with the average age going up by eight years and eight months.

Biggest age increase (10 year change)

a table to show the biggest age increase (10 year change)

Generation hotspots

People naturally migrate to different places based on what stage they’re at in their lives, but which cities and areas are the most popular with each generation?

Generation Z (0-23 years)

A table for area, number and percentage of Generation Z (0-23 years)

While many members of this generation obviously have no choice in where they live, as they still live with their parents, we still see that they’re most prevalent in the big cities. 

University cities also have high populations of under 23s, as this generation covers those who are currently studying at university.

Millennials (24-42 years)

Millennials (24-42 years)

As well as being the overall youngest city, Manchester is also the UK’s Millennial hotspot, with over a third of residents falling into the category.

It’s little surprise to see that Millennials are flocking the country’s major cities such as Manchester, Edinburgh and, of course, London, in search of employment.

Generation X (43-54 years)

Table for Generation X (43-54 year olds)'s population in a particular area and the percentage.

As we start to look towards those entering middle age, we see a definite shift towards the more rural and affluent areas. Members of Generation X most commonly reside in areas such as Elmbridge in Surrey, which has been described as ‘England’s Beverly Hills’ and where almost one in five people fall into this relatively small generation.

Baby Boomers (55-73 years)

Table about baby boomers (55-73 year olds), their population in a particular area and the number of them.

The post-war generation known as the Baby Boomers are now moving towards retirement age, which is reflected in their preference for rural and coastal locations.

Each of the top five most popular locations with Baby Boomers are in the south of England, with four out of the five also being located on the coast.

The Silent Generation (74+)

A table to show the silent generation (74+) which area they live in.

Finally, the oldest generation (known as the ‘Silent Generation’) seemingly have very similar preferences to the Baby Boomer generation, with lots of southern coastal areas having the most people over the age of 74.

Again, this can probably be explained by the fact that these kinds of areas are places that people often move to to enjoy their retirement years.

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Sources

ONS estimates of the population for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland: Mid-2018 & Mid-2001 to 2018 tables:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/datasets/

Generation birth years according to CKG (The Center for Generational Kinetics):

https://genhq.com/faq-info-about-generations/