The Platinum Jubilee generation ‘has seen huge changes in their lifetime’

More than four-fifths (85%) of the “Platinum Jubilee Generation” are homeowners and around one in seven have a second home, according to a think tank.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has taken a look at how life has been for people turning 70 this year, to shed light on the social and economic changes that have taken place during the Queen’s reign.

Of those born in 1952, 76% of men and 84% of women are still alive, reaching the age of 70, according to the IFS.

This compares to only 34% of men and 45% of women who were born in 1882 and reached their 70th birthday in 1952.

The Platinum Jubilee generation now in their 70s can generally expect to live to be 86 if male and 88 if female.

A small but growing share can look forward to receiving a royal salute on its 100th anniversary.

Of the Jubilee generation alive today, just over 1 in 40 men and just under 1 in 20 women are expected to be alive in 2052.

People born in 1952 have, on average, been better off over their lifetime than their fellow citizens, having experienced substantial income growth and soaring house prices over their lifetime, the IFS said.

This generation has benefited from strong income growth in the 1980s and 1990s in particular, and from the growing generosity of state pensions in recent years, according to the think tank.

When they were 25, at the time of the Silver Jubilee, their average earnings were £12,500 (at 2020-2021 prices), compared to an average of £10,700 for the whole of the UK.

Their peak in income came after the Golden Jubilee when, in 2005, they had an average income of £27,800, which was £5,700 more than the UK average.

They now have typical earnings of £26,400 a year, which is £1,500 above average.

Some 14% own a second home.

In 1952 the average house price was £2,000 (about £40,000 at today’s prices), rising to £13,000 by 1977 (about £64,000 at today’s prices).

The average house price is now around £260,000.

But not all are well-off and 18% were in relative income poverty before the coronavirus pandemic, although this figure is below the national average of 22%.

In 1977, the year of the Silver Jubilee, people over the legal retirement age were more than twice as likely to be poor as those below the legal retirement age.

Despite their relative wealth, some members of the Platinum Jubilee generation are suffering from poor health heading into the big 7-0.

More than a third (35%) take medication for high blood pressure and 7% say their health is poor.

About 15% have a diploma or equivalent higher education, a much lower proportion than that of the younger generations.

About three quarters are married, 10% are widowed and 11% are divorced or separated from a partner.

David Sturrock, senior research economist at IFS, said: “The Platinum Jubilee generation, those born when the Queen ascended the throne, have seen huge changes over their lifetime.

“Life expectancy at age 70 has increased by six years between 1952 and today.

“Incomes and housing prices have risen dramatically, making this generation the wealthiest yet.

“While 43% of them were regular smokers at some point in their lives, only 9% smoke regularly today.

“These changes reflect some of the major economic and social changes that have taken place in the UK since the 1950s.

“These changes also come with challenges, as younger generations are far less likely to be homeowners and face a future in which we aim to rapidly reduce the environmental impact of our economy while meeting the needs of a ageing population.”

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