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'Baby boomer' myth challenged

Published on 17 August 2015 11:01 PM

A new report by the Ready for Ageing Alliance is challenging the validity of the ‘baby boomer' myth.

There is a widely touted belief that there is a uniform group of older people in the UK - so called ‘baby boomers' - who have benefitted at the expense of younger age groups.


The report by the Ready for Ageing Alliance, which defines baby boomers as people between the ages of 55 and 70, argues that the term has become an overused and potentially dangerous shorthand to inaccurately describe everybody in a single age group.

It provides compelling evidence that baby boomers are in fact a diverse group of people in virtually every aspect of their lives

While many boomers have benefitted from house price inflation, just under half of those aged 55 to 64 in England fully own their property and 24% are still renting.

Although some boomers can expect to live a long time in good health, men in the most deprived parts of England can expect to live to 52.2 years in good health compared with 70.5 years in the least deprived areas. Furthermore, 6.7 million people aged 55 to 64 have a long-standing illness or disability.

While some boomers benefitted from free further education, under 1 in 5 of those aged 55 to 64 in the UK have a degree.

Evidence in the report also shows that while some boomers will retire with good pension provision, almost 3 in 10 of 55 to 64 year olds in Great Britain do not have any

David Sinclair, spokesperson for the Ready for Ageing Alliance, said: 'The term "baby boomer" seems to be increasingly used to inflame divisions and resentment between younger and older generations.

'The report highlights that whilst some boomers are ageing successfully, there is huge diversity in income, wealth and experiences of those aged 55 to 70.

'Our ageing society will impact on both young and older people. Today's younger people are tomorrow's older.

'If we are to ensure that our increasingly ageing society is prosperous for all future generations, we must find ways of bring older and younger together rather than pitch them against each other.'

The Ready for Ageing Alliance is a group of major national charities interested in our ageing society. Its members are Age UK, Alzheimer's Society, Anchor, Carers UK, Centre for Policy on Ageing, the International Longevity Centre - UK (ILC-UK), Independent Age and Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

 The myth of the baby boomer (PDF 384 KB)opens link in new window

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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