THE NUMBER of elderly people living in Warwickshire is set to explode.
The 15th annual exploration of the Quality of Life in Warwickshire suggests the population of residents over the age of 75 is set to rise by some 60,000 over the next two decades.
The report says by 2037 there will be almost 100,000 more people living in Warwickshire, and one in six of the projected population of 624,000 will be aged over 75 – around 100,000 people in total. Currently about one in 12 of the population is aged over 75 – just over 40,000 people.
But while the report notes the dramatic rise could bring problems, it also suggests it could have significant benefits.
“Whilst it is clearly positive that individuals are living longer, this demographic change presents many challenges to local authorities, particularly for health and social care services,” says the report.
“It may lead to increased costs, or the growing number of older people may create new economic and social opportunities, or a combination of both. It’s estimated that the over 65s make a net contribution to the UK economy of £40 billion through tax payments, spending power, donations to charity and volunteering.”
The Warwickshire County Council report uncovered findings ranging from earnings to education.
Residents were generally happy with their lot. Nine out of ten people quizzed said they were satisfied with life in the county, with their biggest gripe relating to the state of the roads and pavements.
There was good news for earnings in Warwickshire over the last year, with the average wage going up by four per cent in the county, ahead of the regional and national average.
And there was good news in Warwickshire classrooms with pupils in the county performing well at both Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4, outperforming their regional and national counterparts.
Crime also fell, as did the number of people killed or seriously hurt on the county’s roads.
But houses in Warwickshire were less affordable than the national average – particularly in Warwick district where a lack of ‘affordable decent housing’ was highlighted.
There are currently 1,100 long-term unemployed in the county, half of who live in Nuneaton and Bedworth, which also contained all nine areas in Warwickshire officially classified as ‘deprived’.
Jim Graham, Chief Executive of Warwickshire County Council, said: “As ever the Quality of Life presents a mixed view, but as a countywide picture earnings are up, education is performing well, and crime and anti-social behaviour is falling.
“On our roads the number of people killed or seriously injured has fallen by four per cent, and has more than halved in the last 12 years.
“I’m concerned that the levels of inequality in Warwickshire are growing. The more prosperous parts of the county have dealt well with recession and downturns in the economy. This is clearly demonstrated using unemployment as an indicator, where the proportion of long-term unemployed in the county is more skewed than ever, with Nuneaton and Bedworth suffering the most.
“The Quality of Life report certainly gives an insight into what is happening in the county and guidance on where we might want to start focussing our energies.”
Visit http://www.warwickshireobservatory.org/quality-of-life-in-warwickshire-201415/ to read the full report.