Number of over-65s in Ireland set to double to 1.6 million by 2051

Number of over-65s in Ireland set to double to 1.6 million by 2051

CSO statistician Sarah Crilly said: “Older people lead varied lives, and this Hub, which brings together 46 different indicators under a number of different themes, provides a gateway into the key factors which influence the quality of the lives of older people.” File photo: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie

The number of people aged 65 and over in Ireland is projected to double to 1.6 million by 2051, while just over 100,000 individuals in this age bracket are currently in employment.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has published the figures as part of its new Older Persons Information Hub, in recognition of International Day for Older Persons on Saturday.

The hub aims to provide a “snapshot” of the lives of older people in Ireland, and includes a range of social and economic indicators.

Among the statistics it revealed are:

  • Almost half of people aged 75 and over have never used the internet;
  • There are more than 330,000 people aged 70 and over with full driving licences;
  • Almost a third of people aged 65-74 care for a non-family member on a weekly basis; 
  • And there were more than 800 marriages for people aged 60 and over last year, with 552 grooms and 227 brides. 

CSO statistician Sarah Crilly said that the figures show Ireland’s population is aging, with life expectancy increasing and older people continuing to be an active and vibrant part of their communities.

“The story of older people in Ireland is a complex one and needs to be told in a balanced way,” she said. “Older people lead varied lives, and this Hub, which brings together 46 different indicators under a number of different themes, provides a gateway into the key factors which influence the quality of the lives of older people.” 

Among the other social indicators included in the hub is data around people’s health, education and housing status. Two-thirds of people aged 65-70 are overweight or obese, it said, while three in five people aged 75 and over consider their health to be good or very good.

While almost one fifth of 25-34 year olds smoke daily, this figure is just 6% for people aged 75 and over.

More than 224,000 people aged 65 and over have no formal education or were educated to primary school level, compared to just over 17,000 people aged 25-34.

Looking back at the 2016 Census, it shows that more than 156,000 adults aged 65 and over lived alone in private households while more than 26,000 were resident in hospitals or nursing homes.

Turning to economic indicators, Ms Crilly said: “Older people in Ireland continue to participate in the economy. Many continue to work, run farms, or act as carers in the community. 

We can see that as recently as April, May, and June of this year (Q2 2022), 106,000 people aged 65 and over were in active employment working an average of 32 hours per week. This compares to an average of 38 hours per week for those aged 25-34.

“Older people are also taking holidays and mini breaks, with an estimated 469,000 people who were aged 65 and over taking an overnight trip for personal reasons in 2021. Older people in employment are less likely to be absent due to health problems with only 8% of those aged 65-74 absent from work for this reason in the previous 12 months in 2019, compared to 22% of those aged 25-34.” 

The statistics also show that the percentage of farm holders aged 65 and over has increased over recent decades, from 23% in 1991 to 33% in 2020, while older people were at a higher risk of living in poverty last year than younger cohorts.

Meanwhile, private pension coverage of people in employment aged 55-69 has increased from 69% in 2019 to 74% in 2021.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub


Text header

From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

War_map
Execution Time: 0.235 s