Almost all organisms age and ageing is considered to be a normal biological process. Ageing occurs because damage to molecules, cells and tissues throughout life leads to loss of function and increased risk of death. Research can increase understanding of the human ageing process and lead to interventions that can improve health and quality of life in older people.

You can download the answers here.

You could also ask the students to create a table and/or graph from these data.

Curriculum links

Mathematical content for science subjects
8.2 Arithmetic and numerical computation (b) Use ratios, fractions and percentages.
8.5 Graphs (a) Translate information between graphical, numerical and algebraic forms.

A changing population

  1. What percentage of the population is in the following four age brackets and how they have changed over time?
  2. Which sections of the population are shrinking and which are increasing?

Fill in the table below ( download the pdf worksheet).

Age bracket


% of total


% of total

2033 (estimated)

% of total

Increasing or decreasing?

under 16

11.9 million


11.5 million


12.8 million




34.4 million


38.1 million


43.3 million




9.4 million


11.8 million


17.2 million




0.7 million


1.3 million


3.3 million



Total population








*SPA = state pension age which was 65 for men and 60 for women until 2010, it is now 65 for both sexes. Between 2024 and 2046 the state pension age will increase from 65 to 68 for both sexes.

Check your answers in this quiz online here.



The department for national statistics has an interactive map showing the median age of the population in different parts on the UK. The median age is the age at which half the population is older and half the population is younger. The map shows data for different years in the past and projected data for the future.