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Where do over 65s live?

When we get to retirement age, it’s likely that we’re looking for a different pace of life than we had, say in our 20s. Many of us might want to swap bustling cities and bright lights for parks and local pubs, golf courses and greenery.

We decided to do some research and look into which areas over 65s actually live – and how that has changed over the years.

We gathered the data and looked at over 65s as a percentage of the population in different areas, looking at the information from over 20 years ago and the most recent data.

Where are the most popular hotspots?

We found that the most popular place for over 65s to live is Dorset. According to the data, the population of over 65s in Dorset is the highest, where one in three people are over 65. The next most popular place is the Isle of Wight, followed by Conwy, Powys and Torbay – in all four areas, more than a quarter of the population are over 65.

We’ve highlighted the top 10 most popular places for over 65s below:

infographic depicting top 10 populated areas of over 65 year olds.
Position Area Percentage of over 65s in 2018
1 Dorset 28.6%
2 Isle of Wight 27.8%
3 Conwy 27.4%
4 Powys 27.0%
5 Torbay 26.4%
6 East Riding of Yorkshire 25.8%
7 Isle of Anglesey 25.7%
8 Pembrokeshire 25.7%
9 Isles of Scilly 25.7%
10 East Sussex 25.7%

Where are the least popular spots?

It looks like the areas with the fewest retirees are the big cities, London in particular, with Tower Hamlets officially being the least popular spot in the UK for over 65s to live. The data suggests that just one in 16 of the population are over 65s.

Manchester also seems to be less popular with the over 65s, with only one in nine people being over 65 years of age.

Position Area Percentage of over 65s in 2018
216 Tower Hamlets 6.3%
215 Newham 7.5%
214 Hackney 7.5%
213 Lambeth 8.3%
212 Southwark 8.3%
211 Islington 8.8%
210 Manchester 9.3%
209 Barking and Dagenham 9.3%
208 Lewisham 9.4%
207 Wandsworth 9.5%

How has this changed in the last 20 years?

We’ve seen a shift in the last 20 years with the population of over 65s in certain areas changing dramatically.

The area that has seen the biggest increase in the number of over 65s over the past 20 years is Rutland in the East Midlands. Back in 1998, it was number 59 on the list. It is now 17th with the proportion of over 65s rising from 17% to 25%.

Other areas that have seen a steep increase in the populations of over 65s include East Riding of Yorkshire, Argyll and Bute, and Powys.

While London and Manchester have some of the lowest populations of over 65s today, other areas that have seen stark decreases include Brighton and Hove, Nottingham and Bristol.

infographic depicting top 10 populated areas of over 65 year olds 1998-2018.

Over 65s as % of population

Top 10 increases
1998-2018
1998 percentage 1998 Position (out of 216)
Rutland 16.7% 59
East Riding of Yorkshire 18.0% 37
East Dunbartonshire 14.5% 148
Argyll and Bute 17.9% 40
Powys 19.5% 15
Orkney Islands 16.2% 81
Northumberland 17.1% 52
Isle of Anglesey 18.6% 27
Pembrokeshire 18.7% 26
Monmouthshire 17.9% 42
2018 percenatge 2018 Position (out of 216) Percentage change 1998-2018
24.9% 17 8.2%
25.8% 6 7.8%
22.2% 43 7.7%
25.5% 12 7.5%
27.0% 4 7.5%
23.6% 30 7.4%
24.3% 24 7.2%
25.7% 7 7.1%
25.7% 8 7.0%
24.9% 18 7.0%
Top 10 decreases 1998-2018 1998 percentage 1998 Position (out of 216)
Barking and Dagenham 15.7% 104
Manchester 13.9% 168
Tower Hamlets 10.6% 210
Brighton and Hove 17.4% 44
Greenwich 13.6% 174
Nottingham 14.6% 78
Southwark 11.3% 205
Bristol, City of 15.6% 105
Hackney 10.2% 121
Glasgow City 16.0% 95
Average 13.9% 130.4
2018 percenatge 2018 Position (out of 216) Percentage change 1998-2018
9.3% 209 -6.4%
9.3% 210 -4.6%
6.3% 216 -4.3%
13.3% 186 -4.1%
10.4% 204 -3.1%
11.5% 201 -3.1%
8.3% 212 -3.0%
12.9% 190 -2.7%
7.5% 214 -2.6%
13.5% 184 -2.5%
10.2 202.6 -3.6

Why the shift?

Other studies have shown that later in life people often enjoy the peace and quiet of less crowded rural and coastal areas.

All of our top 10s had a low population density, meaning that these areas were likely to be less crowded and possibly more peaceful.

Our bottom 10s tended to be more crowded areas with 7,414 people per square KM on average.

Many of the areas that have seen the biggest increase in over 65s are coastal. Nine of the ten areas with the most over 65s are known for their beaches – Dorset, Isle of Wight, Conwy, Torbay, East Riding of Yorkshire, Isle of Anglesey, Pembrokeshire, Isles of Scilly and East Sussex – while Powys in Wales has a number of beautiful lakes and reservoirs.

In comparison the least most popular areas for over 65s are all cities, and none are on the coast.

House prices also play a part in the data. Seven out of 10 of our top spots have lower house prices than the UK average. The bottom 10 populated areas have an average house price that is over double the UK average.

We’re all different, so whether you live in the city or by the seaside it’s important to be happy. One person’s perfect spot isn’t necessarily someone else’s.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife and who provides the SunLife Guaranteed Over 50 Plans?

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services , registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG, United Kingdom (registered in England and Wales, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the SunLife Guaranteed Over 50 Plan life insurance policies. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG, United Kingdom (registered in England and Wales, no. 1016269).

Who provides the Funeral Benefit Option?

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services, registered office: 4 King Edwards Court, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP (registered in England and Wales, No. 00041598). Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services, registered office: 4 King Edwards Court, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP (registered in England and Wales, No. 00041598). Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.