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Evolution of UK Families

 

The UK Office for National Statistics released a fascinating study that examines social trends in the UK. The focus of the study was the evolution of the UK family. Some of these trends will have a direct impact on genealogy. Below is a summary of some of the more interesting findings for genealogists:


• The UK had a population of 61.0 million people in 2007 (the year in which the study is based). The breakdown is England 51.1 million, Wales 3.0 million, Scotland 5.1 million and Northern Ireland 1.8 million. Northern Ireland is experiencing the fastest growth rate and Scotland the slowest growth rate. The population of Scotland is expected to be the same in 2011 as it was forty years earlier in 1971.


• More boys than girls have been born in the UK every year since 1922. The exact proportions are 51.4% boys and 48.6% girls. However, women begin to outnumber men by their early 30s because of higher mortality rates and higher migration rates for males.


• Some 61% of the population aged 75 and older is female due to the higher life expectancy of women and the high male mortality rate during World War II.


• Both birth rates and death rates have fallen over the past 150 years. The ‘oldest old’ is the fastest growing segment of the population, which is defined as anyone 90 years and older. Roughly 0.7% of the population is in this category, which is approximately four times the number of people that were in this category 40 years ago.


• This rise in the oldest old segment is attributed to an improvement over the last century in medical treatment and technology, better hygiene and sanitation, upgraded housing and living standards and better nutrition. Long term projections suggest that roughly 25% of individuals born in 2001 will reach the age of 100.

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