Millennials or OAPs - How Old Are the People in Your Area?
Do you ever sit back and think about how old (or young) everyone around you is? Perhaps you’re living in suburban bliss, surrounded by senior citizens who have done their years of hard work and are now taking life easy in the slow lane? Or maybe you’re dwelling in a lively, bustling area in a city and struggling to keep up with the party animals around you? Well, you needn’t wonder any longer as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have released a data set that contains the median age of population for wards in England and Wales. As Hopewiser loves everything about addresses, we have selected a handful of those wards across Britain to analyse what sort of patterns can be seen in different locations.
We begin our analysis in Manchester, because let’s be honest, everyone loves Manchester. The median age for the city centre is 24.9. Does this surprise you, or not? No, we weren’t shocked either. According to Invest in Manchester, there are 99,000 students spread across four universities; University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Salford, and the University of Bolton. That’s a lot of young people, wouldn’t you agree? That doesn’t even take into account the endless colleges and schools. We’d be here all day.
For the academic years 2013/14 and 2014/15, the graduate retention rate in Manchester was 51.5%, which means over half of the city's students decided to remain in the area after graduating from university. Not only that, but 58% of the population who moved away from Manchester ended up returning to work once they had finished studying elsewhere in the country. Must be something in the air.
And it isn’t only young students that contribute to Manchester’s young median age, it’s young parents as well! Last year, the Manchester Evening News spoke to three mothers to gain their insight as to what it was like raising a young family in Manchester City Centre. Hannah Plastow, 27, originated from Timperley, Trafford but has lived in Piccadilly for over six years now. And after having her baby she was in no rush to move back: “The accessibility and the buzz you get from living in a city centre, you just don’t get that from living out in the suburbs, with house upon house upon house.” With developers planning to build larger town houses in areas such as the Gay Village, Castlefield, and New Islington, this opens up more and more opportunities for young people to live in Manchester.
Further up North we can see that two locations in Newcastle upon Tyne have very sparse median age gaps, with North Jesmond at 22.8 and Westerhope at 51.4. Statistics provided by I Live Here UK suggest that Westerhope may be an economically deprived area. The rate of residents claiming benefits, which includes in-work benefits, is 25% higher than the national average. This means that a large proportion of people in this area could be unemployed or on low salaries. In addition to this, the level of homeowners is lower than the national average, whether that be via mortgage or owning the property outright. In fact, an average of 23.3% of the ward are living in rented council houses, whereas only 9.4% on average of the wider population in England are renting council properties.
The statistics also support those from ONS by stating Westerhope is generally classed as an older persons location, with an average of 17.5% of people being aged between 45 and 59 years. This is compared to the average of 8.2% that are aged between 25 and 29 years. It makes one wonder why this is? Perhaps younger people are refraining from moving to the area because of its economically deprived status, and are deciding that they may not receive a good quality of life by living there. It’s certainly possible.
Similar to Manchester, North Jesmond is extremely popular with students, hence why the median age is so low. Whilst some residents of the traditionally up-market suburb are prone to adopting an anti-students attitude, others embrace the steadily-growing population of fresh faced youths as a means to boost local business. At less than 10 minutes drive from Newcastle University, it’s clear to see why many landlords have invested their money in former family homes and converted them into student accommodation.
Chairman of Jesmond Residents’ Association, Tony Waterston, claims that the student population of some residential areas, such as Coniston Avenue, equates to 80%. He believes that the lack of gardens and child-friendly facilities have been contributing factors to families uprooting and making way for the abundance of students. The association has worked hard to build bridges between students and residents, after those relationships had been marred in the past by anti-social behaviour, drinking, and loud noise at night time, amongst other typical student conundrums. In 2015, a real breakthrough was made in terms of healing old wounds, with the first student contribution at the Jesmond Community Festival – a jazz band performance. The centre of Newcastle is also within reach for Jesmond’s residents, at 30 minutes walk or 25 minutes via train routes. Therefore, we are not surprised that the median age for this ward is a bright and bubbly 22.8.
Another popular jaunt in the North that is also favourable with people in their 20s is the West Yorkshire town of Bradford, with a median age of 25.7 in the city centre. Our first thoughts were that the abundance of universities, such as the University of Bradford, University of Leeds, and University of Huddersfield contribute to this young median age.
For example, the neighbouring city of Leeds retained 29% of its graduates in the academic year 2014/15. And whilst these figures are not representative of Bradford, it isn’t to say that graduates don’t move to more affordable towns and cities in the surrounding area whilst they are just starting out in their careers. The average housing price in Leeds is £199,664, whereas the average price in Bradford is considerably less at £129,306. Therefore, it may be the case that students who graduated from universities in Leeds during the 2014/15 academic year stayed in the city originally before moving to more affordable cities such as Bradford by the time the dataset was compiled in 2016.
Now that we’ve finished rambling on about the North, let’s navigate down towards the Midlands to see whether there is much difference in the median ages. Bishop’s Tachbrook is a village and civil parish in the Warwick district of Warwickshrie, and has a median age of 44.1. This is considerably older than the university cities that we’ve mentioned previously, so we ask ourselves why is this the case? Well, given that the average price for a house is £253,193, making it 12.2% higher than the national average of £225,621, would suggest that it is a more affordable area for older persons who may have reasonably well-paid jobs. Therefore, this could be a contributing factor to the higher median age for the area.
The assumption about this ward is further supported by occupation statistics provided by I Live Here UK, which states Bishop’s Tachbrook has “20% more Higher and Intermediate managerial, administrative, or professional households than the national average”. It could be argued that more people in their 40s will have high-end roles as opposed to those in their 20s who will more than likely have only recently left education. A combination of this and the ward’s close proximity to the popular tourist town of Leamington Spa, may have an effect on housing prices, which could subsequently affect the median age.
Next we take a trip down to Old London Town, well more specifically, Richmond upon Thames. Situated in Southwest London, the borough has a median age of 38.9. Not surprising really, because what young person can afford to buy in London? Very few. A survey conducted two years ago revealed that Richmond upon Thames is the happiest place to live in London. But it would appear that with happiness comes an expensive price tag, as the average home sells for £764,219! This reinforces our belief that the median age tends to be higher in wards with high property prices that require well-paid jobs in order to afford them. And it’s only natural that people are generally paid more in their 30s than those in their 20s. And whilst there is always the option to rent, I think we can both agree that you’ll get much more for your money ‘up North’ in terms of space than you would in London.
Lastly, we head even further south to the seaside town of St Ives, Cornwall where the median age stands at 57, the highest out of the ones we have analysed today. Why is the age so high, you ask? Well, it doesn’t take a genius to know that St Ives is renowned for its surf beaches and art scene, therefore, it could be that many people choose to retire to the area in later life. According to Cornwall Live, the population of Cornwall is getting older, and by 2036 a third of its residents will be aged 65 or over. This would support the theory that it is a hotspot for retirers.
According to Public Health England, only 55% of residents in rural locations are within five miles of a hospital, compared to 97% in urban areas. Additionally, 57% of the rural population live within 2.5 miles of an NHS dental surgery, as opposed to 98% of the urban population. Not only is there a greater access to healthcare facilities in cities, but it could be argued that there are more employment opportunities in urban areas. The Guardian reported in 2015 that the number of residents living in large city locations who were aged 22-29 had nearly tripled in England and Wales, amounting to almost half of the total population.
The rise in millennials choosing to live in urban locations as opposed to rural ones is largely due to the increase in the number of highly-skilled jobs appealing to this demographic. Not to mention they won’t be faced with the long commute. This would explain why the median age for cities tends to be younger compared to remote wards such as St Ives, where residents may be retired and could no longer need to work.
Do you live in one of the wards that we have discussed today? Or perhaps you’re dwelling in one of the others highlighted on our map of Britain? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the age of the population where you live. However old or young you are, consider our app, Proximity, as your gateway to finding all your nearest transport, leisure, and healthcare facilities. For you free download, head over to the App Store or Google Play today. Enjoy!