Wales Ageing, Unnaturally and Disgracefully

More figures have just been released from the 2011 Census by the Office for National Statistics. Here’s a link to the Nomis website from where I extracted the figures I’ve used in my tables. If you get the hang of it you can kind of pick and choose the statistics and combinations, or areas, you want. Anyway, let’s start with the all-Wales figure, showing the age breakdown and the country of birth. Census Age Groups

(I should explain that the ‘Total’ column, one in from the right, includes those born everywhere from Chile to China. The percentage figure in the right-hand column shows the figure for that age group as a percentage of the total population figure. So that the 25 – 34 band makes up 11.7% of the total population of Wales. Clear?)

There are a number of interesting features to be seen here, not least the fact that between the youngest and the oldest age bracket the Welsh born percentage drops by almost twenty percentage points. Which obviously makes monkeys out of those who still deny there’s a problem. Elsewhere, the ‘spike’ in the 16 – 24 sector for English born is accounted for mainly by students, which then explains the subsequent drop in the 25 – 34 segment. Predictably, there is a marked increase in the percentage of English born in the population from the age of 50, which of course is explained by retirees.

More interesting is the 35 – 49 range, where we see an increase of nearly four points on the 25 – 34 group. Interesting because of course these are neither students nor retirees. This increase is partly accounted for by English people moving to Wales to take up employment, and partly by the influx of the benefit-dependent population I have dealt with before.

What these figues show (when compared with previous censuses) is that Wales has an ageing population. This is due to: a) Welsh people living longer and b) English people retiring to Wales. Which might be acceptable . . . were Wales a wealthy country, with a large working age population, a robust and efficient heath service, a reliable ambulance service, etc. WaleGwynedd wardss has none of these things. Yet for unfathomable reasons those who claim to be running this country do nothing to curb the influx of elderly people to a poor country with a health service on the point of collapse.

That is the national picture. Locally, or in my locality, the figures are even more depressing. Here’s a table showing the same breakdown used in the previous table for the five south western wards of Gwynedd. (Anyone in any doubt of where we are should click to enlarge the map.) Census age groups GwyneddAgain we see that in the 0 – 15 age bracket the Welsh born element is well over 80%, but by the time we reach 65+ the Welsh percentage has fallen to 31.6%! What the hell has happened? Well, the giveaway is the fact that in the 65+ age bracket the Welsh born (and in this age group they are far more likely to be Welsh and Welsh speaking) are outnumbered more than two to one by the English born. The Welsh born are in a majority up until the 25 – 34 segment then, due to the factors mentioned earlier – always more pronounced in rural and coastal areas – the Welsh born percentage drops to 40% in the 35 – 49 bracket. And of course, in a rural area like this you can throw into the mix the emigration of the educated and / or ambitious Welsh. The picture is very much the same in other rural and coastal areas.

No doubt others would interpret these figures differently. Those working for Age Concern and similar bodies, or the anti-Welsh bigots who haunt the internet and social networking sites, could all risk a scorched arse by putting a positive gloss on a draining influx that turns us into a minority in our own country, and county. For even though I’m not native to Meirionnydd I now belong to the Welsh born minority in this part of Gwynedd. Down to 43.9% and dwindling.

It would be nice to report that politicians are aware of the problems faced by areas like this and are doing something to help. But no. Tywyn’s largest employer, Halo Foods, was recently given £365,000 by the ‘Welsh’ Government to move to Newport, Gwent. There is today no economic strategy for vast swathes of Wales . . . nothing beyond wind turbines, tourism and granny farming. If you’re Welsh, and young, the message is simple – ‘Get out, there’s nothing for you here. This is no longer your country’. Unless, of course, you want to be part of that great local growth industry – wiping wrinkly English bottoms.

12 thoughts on “Wales Ageing, Unnaturally and Disgracefully

  1. Daffy

    Just saw an interesting tweet. Do you think they want our NHS to collapse and then blame it on London. There was an exchange between R T Davies and Chris Bryant the other day on twitter

    Richard Graham
    ‏@RichardGrahamMP
    Interesting statistic about health budgets 2011-13 acc IFS: England +3.1%, Scotland +0.4% &
    Wales -8.6%. Q: which one is run by Labour?

    Here’s the exchange between Davies and Bryant:

    Chris Bryant
    ‏@ChrisBryantMP
    “.@AndrewRTDavies Conservative govt cuts £2.4 billion fron your @WelshGovernment budget” 2

    Andrew RT Davies
    ‏@AndrewRTDavies
    “@ChrisBryantMP @WelshGovernment your government have run the NHS in Wales since devolution- don’t try and shirk responsibility” 1

    1. The ever-present problem with Labour, especially in Wales is that it knows how to spend money, waste it, even, but it has no idea how to generate income. Wales under Labour is like a child with pocket money; all it can do is decide what ‘sweeties’ to buy but it hasn’t a clue how ‘Daddy’ makes the money, and it wouldn’t know where to start earning its own.

      Dealing specifically with The Invasion of the Wrinklies I’m sure there are some people who see this as a good thing. It can be used to maintain or increase population levels (always a good thing for politicians). Then, old people need gardeners, hairdressers, taxi drivers, care home workers, home helps, etc., etc. A whole host of low paid jobs will spring up naturally to serve a large elderly population.

      With the result that by doing nothing but allowing the building of retirement bungalows and care homes, an area’s population can be maintained and many, low paid jobs created, for which the ‘Welsh’ Government (and local politicians) will take credit. Ignoring the anglicising effect and the probability that in the near future the health service in Wales will collapse under the weight. For in addition to the elderly there is also a blatant movement into Wales of sick and disabled people, also contributing to overcrowded doctors’ surgeries and hospitals. (This influx is something I hope to investigate.)

      But as ever, to speak out against England dumping her problems on Wales makes US ‘callous’, it makes US ‘racist’. A sensible country would put curbs or financial disincentives on an influx of over 50s. Increased stamp duty on properties they buy, limiting the numbers of care homes licensed (for many move directly to Welsh care homes, ‘granny dumping’), demanding that such migrants had private health, care would all be options. Something must be done, for neither the health service, nor Wales herself, can survive this invasion.

  2. Dave Collins

    It is rather hard to understand how, short of becoming a hermit state, Wales whether nominally independent or not can prevent our young people from getting on by moving away, or effectively deter retired people (whether Welsh born or not), from relocating here to take advantage of the quality of life / cost of living. We need to be honest about what is going on and the power of the social and economic forces that drive it. We should also acknowledge that there is no deliberate ethnic ‘cleansing’ or ‘packing’ policy being driven in either London or Cardiff; simply millions of individuals freely making decisions about the best options for themselves and their families.

    1. “Hermit State”! What’s needed is what countless other small countries manage – provide good jobs for young people in many parts of the country. But Wales has always been run for the benefit of England, and even with limited self-rule the buffoons down Cardiff docks seem to think that a ‘national’ economy is achieved by focusing all growth on Cardiff, and sucking in young people from other parts of the country. In other words, imitating London. We are supposed to accept this as an improvement – ‘Oh, they’re going to Cardiff now instead of London’. Insulting bollocks. Most of those who voted for devolution voted against power and wealth being concentrated in the south east of England. We did not vote for it to be concentrated in the south east of Wales.

      1. Welsh not British

        Perhaps if we stopped subsidising English universities that would go some way in preventing our “best and brightest” moving to a foreign country.

        1. Agreed, but we’d still need to provide decent jobs outside of Cardiff. Which is why I regard the relocation of S4C as so promising, and I hope others follow the lead. Though I regard Aberystwyth as a better option than either Carmarthen or Caernarfon. Not least because it would strengthen the case for re-opening the Carmarthen – Aberystwyth rail line, giving us a genuine north – south railway.

          1. Daffy

            If the Welsh Assembly had taxation powers and to be able to even vary Corporation Tax levels then those could be used to encourage companies to set up in Wales. Ireland managed to do this. We could also identify some industries that we could be world beaters at and push them at our universities; industries which are suited to our climate, topography and people. The Chinese have developed farms out at sea to develop energy from algae. I believe the Scots are interested. Then we could have tidal lagoons. Research into what products we can produce from dairy produce; the old Dyfed area was known as a milk field. We need to get Wales working as an economic entity. But Brit nationalists view us as an add-on to England…..with the capital in London. This is where economic activity is to be based. We are just meant to service it with labour and take in those who are a drain.

            They also talk of City regions being the model. This is what Prof Kevin Morgan said “Cities all over the world are the engines of their regions.” Fair enough….but we don’t have a Shanghai with 22 million people or whatever or a Chongqing with similar numbers. We are Wales. And that means something more than ‘Greater Cardiff’.

  3. Penygadair

    As one who was recently nearly mown by a convoy of mobility scooters on Tywyn High Street, I’m in full agreement with your views. With the virtual closure of Halo the only viable businesses left in Tywyn are care homes, the estate agents and the undertaker; the latter two being assured of continued business.

    I’ve long been concerned about the expansion in Gwynedd of establishments catering for those with “learning difficulties” parked here by English councils. Many are little other than warehouse operations who charge a small fortune to house and feed the inmates with little attempt to address the individuals problems. Why Gwynedd? Obviously because we have a pool of labour prepared to work unsocial hours for the minimum wage

    1. Moving those with ‘learning difficulties’ from England to Wales is just ‘out of sight out of mind’ for those doing it, and ‘jobs at any price’ for those at this end accepting it.

      In addition to the staffed establishments there are others in Tywyn where the poor buggers living there are turned out on the streets after breakfast, in all weather, and left to their own devices for the rest of the day. In addition, there are the sick and disabled who, by one route or another, are being moved to Wales. Scruffs who’ve always got a new (Mobility) car from having made a ‘career’ out of being fat and using a walking stick. As if that wasn’t enough, there are also the Care in the Community’ types. Next time you’re on Tywyn Hight Street dodging mobility scooters look out for them, such as the woman who strides up and down shouting to herself. And there are yet others . . .

      These, plus the elderly and the retirees, are the reason the health service in Wales is close to collapse; and why we have the worst ambulance service in the Western world. But none of this must be spoken; so it sits there, like an elephant in the room, denying honest debate and ensuring that no solution can be found because the real problems can’t be admitted.

  4. Welsh not British

    A somewhat similar (and very good) blog from Radnorian.
    tredelyn.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/are-scots-lazy-andor-stupid.html

  5. Daffy

    This ageing population and our NHS being in trouble is quite worrying. I know this 87 year old Welsh man who has some heart problems but seems to be generally fine and in full control of his faculties who’se experiencing some additional shortness of breath recently. The doctor just gave him some tablets. I said to his wife that maybe they should have enquired about a pace-maker but they hadn’t thought of that being the type to respect authority. Anyway, being a man who’se worked all his life and having saved a little he went private and now they’re doing tests on his lungs to see what’s exactly wrong. Now I’m wondering why wasn’t this done under the NHS? This is the really serious side to this ageing population business. People who are enjoying life will be left to die. Compounding this is the fact that we are accepting….even encouraing the aged and economically inactive which tend to be less healthy to come and live in our midst. It’s madness.

  6. Jac

    Exactly. This is not nationalism, it’s not even politics, it’s economics. So why are there people determined to destroy the health service in Wales and perhaps bankrupt us as well. The answer seems obvious me. To discredit us and create the impression that the Welsh are a useless bunch of bastards who can’t organise anything – so it would be a terrible mistake to give them any more power.

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