Oct 302011

In recent posts I’ve criticised the tendency of blaming older people for the problems being faced by younger people. Now there are more reasons to question this tendency.

Regional differences

This isn’t about intergenerational problems per se. But it shows something else that must be taken into account – where you live. The lesson is that if you live in London or the South East, don’t blame your problems on older people, blame them on where you live. Many older people in the rest of country would struggle to live there; why should young people expect to do so?

Telegraph: Two speed Britain – in graphs (the house price graph is most dramatic):


Guardian: UK among Europe’s worst countries for ageism:

Britain has one of the worst records in Europe on age discrimination, with nearly two out of five people claiming to have been shown a lack of respect because of how old they are. Only Russia, Ukraine, Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have more people who feel they have been ignored or patronised because of ageism….

Yet a comprehensive analysis of results from the last round of data (collected in 2009) has now been published and the conclusions are clear. In the UK, 64% of people believe ageism is a serious problem, compared with 44% for Europe as a whole. Only in France, where 68% of people believe age discrimination is a very serious or quite serious problem, are the figures more worrying.  And the statistics show that, while there is admiration for the elderly, more people pity than envy those they regard as old, suggesting a perception that age brings weakness and unhappiness.

“Even on the perception of when old age starts, the UK is the worst in Europe in a way,” said Nicola Robinson from Age UK, who helped to analyse the data for 2009. “Britons thought old age started at 59, whereas in Greece they thought it started at around 68. There is a similar question about when youth ends. The UK thought that was 35, while in Greece they thought it was 52.”

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