An evaluation of the accuracy of official high-age population estimates, in England and Wales

Increasing numbers of people are living to very old ages (90 and over). This has led to growing interest in obtaining accurate estimates of population numbers and mortality rates by single year of age at these ages. In England and Wales there were estimated to be 556,270 people aged 90 and over in 2015 (0.9% of the total population). This compares with 222,820 (0.4% of the total population) in 1991. By 2039, the population aged 90 and over is projected to reach 1,516,130 (2.3% of the total population) and deaths at age 90 and over are projected to rise from 22% of all deaths in 2015 to 35% in 2039.

The Office for National Statistics are undertaking a review of the methods used to obtain high-age population estimates and the quality of the underlying input data.

This report gives an overview of the population and deaths data available to us and an assessment of its quality; the methods used to construct population estimates at ages 90 and above and the results of the review to date. Some recommendations for possible improvements are made and further research to be undertaken outlined. These were presented and discussed with users at a workshop held in March 2016.

Read the report here.

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