• Tuesday, May 28, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Elderly Asians in England and Wales least likely to be living alone: ONS data

Both older women and older men who were living in a couple were more likely to be in “very good” or “good” health and less likely to be in “bad” health than those not living in a couple

The proportion of older Asians in England and Wales rose from 2.6 per cent in 2011 to 3.8 per cent in 2021. (Representational image: iStock)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

Elderly Asians in England and Wales are least likely to be living alone, according to official data.

Higher proportions of men aged 65 years or more who identified as Asian, Asian British or Asian Welsh were married or civil-partnered than men belonging to any other ethnic groups, 2021 census figures showed.

But higher proportions of white women across most older age groups were married or civil-partnered than women having Asian or other ethnic backgrounds.

However, the figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Monday (3) also showed that the proportion of widows was highest for Asians across all older age groups. But white men accounted for the largest proportion of widowers.

Staying together had its advantages for elderly couples from a health point of view.

Both older women and older men who were living in a couple were more likely to be in “very good” or “good” health and less likely to be in “bad” health than those not living in a couple. This was true even if someone not living in a couple still lived with other people.

The data also showed the population aged 65 years and over was more ethnically diverse in 2021 than in 2011, with the percentage of the white ethnic group decreasing from 95.5 per to 93.6 per cent between the two 10-yearly censuses. The proportion of older Asians rose from 2.6 per cent to 3.8 per cent during the period, while it increased marginally from 1.3 per cent to 1.4 per cent for black people.

Most older people identified themselves as Christians although their percentage decreased from 80.4 in 2011 to 72.2 in 2021. But the percentage of Hindus in the older population went up from 0.7 per cent in 2011 to 1.1 per cent in 2021 and the corresponding figures for Muslims increased from 1.2 per cent to 1.7 per cent.

Sikhs accounted for 0.6 per cent of the older population in 2021, up from 0.4 per cent a decade earlier.

Overall, the population of England and Wales has continued to age since the 2011 census, with the number of people aged 65 years and more up from 9.2 million in 2011 to more than 11 million in 2021 – the proportion rising from 16.4 per cent to 18.6 per cent during the 10 years.

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