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The dynamics of ageing: Evidence from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing 2002-15 (Wave 7) – James Banks , G.D. Batty , James Nazroo and Andrew Steptoe

November 5, 2016

tdoaELSA provides crucial evidence about population ageing that is relevant in a variety of policy arenas, from pensions and later-life working practices to health, well-being, transport, social engagement and cultural activity. It is also a valuable resource for academic researchers involved in economics, epidemiology and social science. An immense amount of detailed information has been collected from participants in the study, and a single report cannot do justice to the depth and richness of the data set. Accordingly, this report focuses on three issues that are of importance to public policy and scientific investigation:

  • intergenerational financial transfers and the distribution of wealth;
  • the evolution of lifestyles at older ages;
  • trends in obesity among older people.

The report also includes a detailed set of tables describing findings in the different domains included in ELSA, including demographics, income, pensions and wealth, social and cultural activity, cognitive function, physical and mental health, and biomarkers.

While an ageing population is often seen as a problem, it can also be celebrated because young people have so many more role models. It also mans that here is a greater pool of volunteers.

NEWLY retired people who join a gym or a political party are more likely also to join a church or other religious group Over 60s who join a gym are four per cent more likely to join a religious group. Those who sign up to a political party are eight per cent more likely to join a religious group.

Religious bodies should look to make the most of the trend among this age group to take up new activities as they retire.

Belonging to a religious group also has a small but positive impact on this age group’s sense of happi­ness and self-worth, the analysis found.

Dave Eaton from ILC UK said: “This analysis might suggest that efforts to boost membership . . could be best focused on over 60s looking to .. . try something new.”


Three major forms of retirement are distinguished:

normal’ retirement at the state pension age;

‘involuntary’ retirement because of one’s own or another person’s illness, or

because of being made redundant;

and ‘voluntary’ retirement.

Predictors of the latter category are wide ranging and include being fed up with one’s job, wanting to retire at the same time as one’s partner, wanting to spend more time with the family, and so on.

The context of retirement may be key:

while voluntary retirement appears to be broadly beneficial – for well-being, for health, for social engagement – enforced or involuntary retirement may have a detrimental impact.

Labour market participation rates have increased for older workers overthe period 2002–03 to 2014–15, particularly forthose in the five years oneither side of the state pension age

The report is online

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