The census data shows the over 65+ population in the Folkestone & Hythe district has gone from from one in five in 2011, to one in four in 2021, and by 2028, this will rise to one in three.
In 2011, according to the ONS Census data one in five people were aged 65 or over (21%). In the latest census data this has jumped to one in four (25%) and population projection, which has a 95% certainty, shows by 2028 this will reach 33%.
At the other end of the spectrum those aged 0-14, in 2011, made up 16.58%. Since then this figure has fallen to 15.57%, and projections shows this age group will grow to 18.5% by 2028.
Current population projections make it clear that by 2028, those over 65 will make up one in three of the population within the district. There is a 95% degree certainty this figure will be achieved by 2028. This upward trend is worrying and challenging for those responsible for financial resource planning, healthcare, housing, employment and other related issues, to find solutions sooner rather than later.
Given those who are 0-14 is only set to rise to 18,200, by 2028, or not even one in five of the district’s population. How will a future smaller workforce support the district’s ageing population of one in three? The same question is relevant at county level as well.
The number of over 65’s in Kent (excluding Medway) is 20.25%, or one in five. But Folkestone & Hythe buck this trend as the data shows it is 25% or one in four.
In 2011 those aged 0-14 stood at 17,902 in the Folkestone & Hythe District. In 2021, there were 17,100 children aged under 15 in the district. By 2028, the projection is for this to rise to 18,200, but given a cost of living crisis, rising inflation and other cost increases, will more younger people be having babies, sufficiently to reach the projected 2028 figure, even though it is a modest increase? We don’t think so.
The sweeping implications of this demographic revolution in the Folkestone & Hythe District, can scarcely be overestimated. From the crisis in ambulance waiting times, the rise in Adult Social Care provision, and a falling working age population, these are just some of the pressing issues of the day impacting the large cohort of people who have worked their way into older age.
Despite years to plan, however, many experts are questioning whether Kent County Council and district council’s have prepared properly for the economic, cultural and political changes this is driving.
These figures should be a wake up call to us all. In spite of the fact that we’ve known that this is happening, we are not getting this right.
In 2016 the report future-of-an-ageing-population commissioned by David Cameroon, made sweeping recommendations on work, training, housing, health, transport, technology and care. There was just one problem: it was published within weeks of the 2016 EU referendum, and National, County & District councils have been fighting the growing crisis ever since.
The ageing process isn’t just about longer lives, but also a relative drop in younger workers. Birth rates are down, and immigration across Kent and the districts is being reduced. It was known there was going to be a very tight labour market but Brexit and the pandemic have made that so much worse for us all.
It is more likely than not the pension age may well have to increase again. This is an issue currently being studied by an independent review for the Department for Work and Pensions
Across five of Kent’s districts, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe, Sevenoaks, and Thanet areas have an older age profile than the rest of Kent so one would expect higher numbers of deaths to births, but the data is now saying something different. The projections are only saying this will continue.
There is no doubt in our mind that Kent County Council’s Adult Social Care budget will be severely impacted in the years ahead, and no doubt the extra 3% levy on council tax, will have to rise, as the £5.4bn set aside for adult social care nationally, will not be sufficient to meet growing demand at a National, County or district level.
At this moment in time, the released 2021 data does not allow us to drill any deeper down to parish or ward level. That data won’t be available until 2023. But as it is released, it will show which parts of our district have been impacted most. As this data becomes available we will of course, drill as deep as we can to expose what it is saying.
For now we leave you with the projection that by 2028 one in three people within the district will be over 65, and given there is a shortage of carers, GP’s, nurses and other professions needed to care for the elderly we should be concerned for our loved ones, deeply concerned.
The Shepway Vox Team
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