The number of people in the UK aged 65 and over will have grown by the population of present-day London within 50 years, new projections have revealed.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said by mid-2018 the population of the UK reached an estimated 66.4 million.
It said after decades of improvement to life expectancy, the latest figures show a slowdown in improvement, with life expectancy sitting at 79.2 years for men and 82.9 years for women in 2015 to 2017.
In 50 years’ time, there is projected to be an additional 8.2 million people aged 65 years and over, it said – a population roughly the size of present-day London.
The UK population’s growth rate in mid-2017 and mid-2018 was 0.6%, the figures showed, which was slower than any year since mid-2004.
The ONS also said that long-term international migration to and from the UK had remained broadly stable since the end of 2016 and had also continued to be the main driver of the UK’s population growth.
Sarah Coates, from the Centre for Ageing and Demography at the ONS, said: “In 2018, the UK population reached 66.4 million people and migration remained the main driver to population growth.
“The structure of the UK’s population is changing: people living longer and having fewer children means the age structure is shifting towards later ages.
“The ways in which people live are also changing with cohabiting families the fastest growing family type and more young adults living with their parents.”