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Centre for Ageing Better
ageing-better.org.uk
The State of Ageing 2023-
24: understanding ethnic
inequalities in later life
Centre for Ageing Better
ageing-better.org.uk
The State of Ageing 2023-24:
understanding ethnic
inequalities in later life
Sarah Wilkinson, Evidence Manager
12/02/2024
Centre for Ageing Better
Percentage of women with bad or very bad health
(self-reported), by age and ethnic group, England, 2021
22%
Gaps in health start young, widen with age, and vary by ethnicity
Centre for Ageing Better
Poverty is higher than average for older people from some
minority ethnic groups – but we need better data
Centre for Ageing Better
Pensioners from minority ethnic backgrounds have lower incomes
than average
– Average gross income was £590 per
week, but the average for people with
Asian backgrounds was £422 per week
and Black backgrounds was £494 per
week.
– State pension depends on histories of NI
contributions: affected by migration and
fragmented working histories.
– Lifetime earnings are also lower due to
e.g. the ethnicity pay gap, employment
rates, and greater caring responsibilities
for some resulting in some minority
ethnic groups being “under-pensioned”
Centre for Ageing Better
Older renters are struggling most in the current cost of living crisis
– Among people aged 50-69 those who rent are most likely to be in serious difficulties or struggling
– People aged 50+ in most minority ethnic communities are more likely than White British people to rent
Centre for Ageing Better
“The cost of living has affected us in so many ways, that is,
we can no longer afford a balanced diet…. We’re not
managing at all. We’ve already reduced our budget sticking
to the very basic: rice, to keep us going. We feel this
difference in our bodies more than anywhere else. People
will notice we’re no longer as healthy as we used to be.”
73-year-old Black African man
Centre for Ageing Better
Privately rented homes are more likely to pose a serious threat to
health and wellbeing
• 38% of private rented
homes headed by
someone 75 or older
are non-decent
• 22-26% of private
rented homes headed
by someone 74 or
younger is non-decent
Centre for Ageing Better
Women aged 50-64 in ethnic groups that report poor health are
most likely to provide 50 or more hours of paid care per week
– Bangladeshi women (9%) are twice
as likely as White British women
(4.5%) to be providing 50 hours or
more care per week, with Pakistani
women (7.6%) 1.5 times as likely.
– Chinese women (3.1%) are least
likely to report providing both care
overall, and the highest levels of care
– Women aged 50 – 64 in Gypsy and
Irish Traveller communities are most
likely to provide care overall, and the
most care.
Centre for Ageing Better
The older population is becoming more ethnically diverse – and
people are ageing with their histories of inequality
– Minority ethnic groups tend to have a
younger age profile than the White
British ethnic group.
– Almost all the growth among 60-69
years olds is accounted for by people
with BAME backgrounds, although
growth aged 70 and over is
accounted for by growth in the White
population.
– We anticipate future growth in
numbers of older people with
minority ethnic backgrounds.
Centre for Ageing Better
“I’m living in a crisis. I’m in arrears with the mortgage and I’m
worried about losing my home. My children help with the
repayments, or else I would have lost the house some time
ago. I’ve had to rent out two rooms so that there is some
income coming in. The future feels really uncertain. I want to
stay in my own home and feel secure.”
57-year-old Bangladeshi woman
Centre for Ageing Better
Thank you
evidence@ageing-better.org.uk
ageing-better.org.uk
Uncertain Futures
Ruth Edson, Learning Manager: Communities
Manchester Art Gallery
Nadia Siddiqui, Uncertain Futures Advisory Group
member and Director, Women’s Voices CIC
Uncertain Futures:
100 Women Speak
Context Setting by Ruth Edson
Art as Research: Research as Art
Why Manchester Art Gallery?
- Manchester Art Gallery as a
civic space
- We collaborate with partners to
create social change in the city
- We centre people in everything
we do and respond to the
greatest need
100 Voices
• Age Profile: 44% were between the ages of 50-60, 36% were
between 60-70 and the rest were over 70 years.
• Employment Status: 52% in work / 41% retired / 7% Other.
• Private/Occupational pension: 36%
• Race and Ethnicity: 63% Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, 37”
White British.
• Migration Status: 40% reported some migration history. 12%
with experience of the asylum process.
• Unpaid Work 44% Volunteers with an equal number with
caring responsibilities.
• Disabilities and chronic health 45% long-term health
conditions or disability.
Recognising the enduring
contributions of older
women
Unpaid Care -
within families
and communities
Formal
Volunteering
Entrepreneurship
The causes and implications
of fragmentation on women’s
lives
Caring
Responsibilities
Altered Life-
course
Covid
Discrimination on
all grounds: age,
race and ethnicity,
disability, gender
Stereotyping
Structural
inequalities
Combined
discrimination
Aspirations for
Retirement
Intergenerational
Stagnation
Concrete Action
Uncertain Futures report
• https://mcrmetropolis.uk/wp-
content/uploads/2023/11/Uncertain-Futures-100-
Women-November-2023.pdf
Website
• https://uncertainfuturesproject.co.uk
Documentary
• Suzanne Lacy Uncertain Futures - Research Findings
(youtube.com)
Contact us:
• Elaine.Dewhurst@manchester.ac.uk
• Sarah.campbell@mmu.ac.uk
• Ruth.Edson@manchester.gov.uk
• nadia@womensvoices.org.uk

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The State of Ageing - understanding ethnic inequalities in later life

  • 1. Centre for Ageing Better ageing-better.org.uk The State of Ageing 2023- 24: understanding ethnic inequalities in later life
  • 2. Centre for Ageing Better ageing-better.org.uk The State of Ageing 2023-24: understanding ethnic inequalities in later life Sarah Wilkinson, Evidence Manager 12/02/2024
  • 3. Centre for Ageing Better Percentage of women with bad or very bad health (self-reported), by age and ethnic group, England, 2021 22% Gaps in health start young, widen with age, and vary by ethnicity
  • 4. Centre for Ageing Better Poverty is higher than average for older people from some minority ethnic groups – but we need better data
  • 5. Centre for Ageing Better Pensioners from minority ethnic backgrounds have lower incomes than average – Average gross income was £590 per week, but the average for people with Asian backgrounds was £422 per week and Black backgrounds was £494 per week. – State pension depends on histories of NI contributions: affected by migration and fragmented working histories. – Lifetime earnings are also lower due to e.g. the ethnicity pay gap, employment rates, and greater caring responsibilities for some resulting in some minority ethnic groups being “under-pensioned”
  • 6. Centre for Ageing Better Older renters are struggling most in the current cost of living crisis – Among people aged 50-69 those who rent are most likely to be in serious difficulties or struggling – People aged 50+ in most minority ethnic communities are more likely than White British people to rent
  • 7. Centre for Ageing Better “The cost of living has affected us in so many ways, that is, we can no longer afford a balanced diet…. We’re not managing at all. We’ve already reduced our budget sticking to the very basic: rice, to keep us going. We feel this difference in our bodies more than anywhere else. People will notice we’re no longer as healthy as we used to be.” 73-year-old Black African man
  • 8. Centre for Ageing Better Privately rented homes are more likely to pose a serious threat to health and wellbeing • 38% of private rented homes headed by someone 75 or older are non-decent • 22-26% of private rented homes headed by someone 74 or younger is non-decent
  • 9. Centre for Ageing Better Women aged 50-64 in ethnic groups that report poor health are most likely to provide 50 or more hours of paid care per week – Bangladeshi women (9%) are twice as likely as White British women (4.5%) to be providing 50 hours or more care per week, with Pakistani women (7.6%) 1.5 times as likely. – Chinese women (3.1%) are least likely to report providing both care overall, and the highest levels of care – Women aged 50 – 64 in Gypsy and Irish Traveller communities are most likely to provide care overall, and the most care.
  • 10. Centre for Ageing Better The older population is becoming more ethnically diverse – and people are ageing with their histories of inequality – Minority ethnic groups tend to have a younger age profile than the White British ethnic group. – Almost all the growth among 60-69 years olds is accounted for by people with BAME backgrounds, although growth aged 70 and over is accounted for by growth in the White population. – We anticipate future growth in numbers of older people with minority ethnic backgrounds.
  • 11. Centre for Ageing Better “I’m living in a crisis. I’m in arrears with the mortgage and I’m worried about losing my home. My children help with the repayments, or else I would have lost the house some time ago. I’ve had to rent out two rooms so that there is some income coming in. The future feels really uncertain. I want to stay in my own home and feel secure.” 57-year-old Bangladeshi woman
  • 12. Centre for Ageing Better Thank you evidence@ageing-better.org.uk
  • 13. ageing-better.org.uk Uncertain Futures Ruth Edson, Learning Manager: Communities Manchester Art Gallery Nadia Siddiqui, Uncertain Futures Advisory Group member and Director, Women’s Voices CIC
  • 15. Context Setting by Ruth Edson
  • 16. Art as Research: Research as Art
  • 17.
  • 18. Why Manchester Art Gallery? - Manchester Art Gallery as a civic space - We collaborate with partners to create social change in the city - We centre people in everything we do and respond to the greatest need
  • 19. 100 Voices • Age Profile: 44% were between the ages of 50-60, 36% were between 60-70 and the rest were over 70 years. • Employment Status: 52% in work / 41% retired / 7% Other. • Private/Occupational pension: 36% • Race and Ethnicity: 63% Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, 37” White British. • Migration Status: 40% reported some migration history. 12% with experience of the asylum process. • Unpaid Work 44% Volunteers with an equal number with caring responsibilities. • Disabilities and chronic health 45% long-term health conditions or disability.
  • 20.
  • 21. Recognising the enduring contributions of older women Unpaid Care - within families and communities Formal Volunteering Entrepreneurship
  • 22. The causes and implications of fragmentation on women’s lives Caring Responsibilities Altered Life- course Covid
  • 23. Discrimination on all grounds: age, race and ethnicity, disability, gender Stereotyping Structural inequalities Combined discrimination
  • 25. Uncertain Futures report • https://mcrmetropolis.uk/wp- content/uploads/2023/11/Uncertain-Futures-100- Women-November-2023.pdf Website • https://uncertainfuturesproject.co.uk Documentary • Suzanne Lacy Uncertain Futures - Research Findings (youtube.com) Contact us: • Elaine.Dewhurst@manchester.ac.uk • Sarah.campbell@mmu.ac.uk • Ruth.Edson@manchester.gov.uk • nadia@womensvoices.org.uk

Editor's Notes

  1. I make no apologies for starting this presentation with this chart that may be familiar to some. It shows the % of women by age group and selected ethnic groups who say that their health is bad or very bad. Health inequalities are a good starting point in that they illustrate some recurring aspects that we can see across a range of measures. Firstly: The chart shows that the percentages of women reporting bad health starts to diverge at young ages – showing that by the time people enter later life they bring with them a lifetime of inequality. Secondly: This also shows that the percentage of Bangladeshi women aged 50-64 who report bad health (22%) is the same as the percentage of White British women aged 85 plus – a gap of 35 years. However, the rates of bad and very bad health among Black African women is not too dissimilar to that of White women. These variations between minority ethnic groups mean that on average, the gap between BAME women and white women is 10 years, illustrating the inadequacy of using data which uses “BAME” as a single category. This both masks differences between minority ethnic groups and underestimates gaps for many. Thirdly: Research shows that racism has a direct effect on ethnic health inequalities as well as the indirect effect of the worse socio-economic position of many minority ethnic groups. This may be the case for other inequalities – but there is a often a lack of evidence on this. The rest of this presentation will focus on how inequalities in the later lives of people with minority ethnic backgrounds, are linked to poverty, homes, work, and caring – All these are linked to health – so health inequalities can be seen as a barometer for wider inequality in society.
  2. Looking first at poverty, this chart shows that since 2012/13 the numbers of pensioners living in poverty has steadily increased – almost one in five pensioners are living in relative poverty (18%). Our analysis of HBAI data shows that among people aged 50 and over, those with Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds experience the highest rates of poverty (less than 60% median income) and around a quarter of people aged 50 and older from these ethnic backgrounds are living in deep poverty (50% below median income). Sample sizes are relatively small, so these should be seen as indicative and this is an area where we need better data.
  3. But these poverty figures are not surprising when we look at the average income of pensioners. This chart shows that that the average income of Asian pensioners is only £422 per week - 72% of that of White British pensioners (at £590). Here we have had to use broader ethnic groupings due to data availability. We also know that, on average people with minority ethnic backgrounds are “under-pensioned” – only receiving 62% of the average private pension – and again this figure will hide big differences between ethnic groups. The causes of lower private pension provision are clear. Disadvantage faced through working life includes: fragmented working histories, higher self-employment rates, and the ethnicity pay gap (and ethnicity gender pay gap for women – recent data from Fawcett Society shows that Bangladeshi women earn on average 28% less than White men per hour). These, along with migration histories also affect NI contributions and hence the average state pensions are lower for Black and Asian pensioners. Although other benefits - inc. disability and income related benefits - are on average higher these do not make up the shortfall.
  4. Of course we’re talking here about incomes in a time of rising prices – and the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on poorer older people cannot be ignored. Our age analysis of data from the abrdn Financial Fairness Trust found that the financial wellbeing of people aged 50-69 was strongly associated with their type of housing tenure. The people most likely to be in serious difficulties or struggling financially, are those in rented accommodation. And we know that older people in minority ethnic communities are much more likely to still be paying housing costs. Among people aged 50 and over, only 8% of people with a Black African background, and 19% of people with a Bangladeshi background own their own homes outright compared to 54% of the total population. There is also an intersection with with disability – among people aged 50-69, 1 in 5 people who were (or had a partner who was) disabled agreed it was a constant struggle to pay bills, compared to less than one in ten who were not disabled. And again we know that people with some minority ethnic backgrounds are more likely to be disabled. Among people aged 50-64, 25% of Pakistani people and 28% Bangladeshi people are disabled, compared to the average of 21%.
  5. So we can conclude that the cost-of-living crisis is significantly compounding the existing inequality including ethnic inequalities. And this quote from State of Ageing clearly shows how the cost of living crisis is directly linked to health.
  6. Another important connection between renting and health relates to housing quality. A high proportion of privately rented houses are non-decent, that is they pose a serious threat to health and wellbeing. This particularly affects the oldest renters – and the cost of poor quality homes to the NHS is estimated at £1.4 bn per year. And as we have seen certain ethnic groups are more likely to be affected by this than others: More than one in five people aged 50 and over from Black African backgrounds privately rent compared with fewer than 1 in 10 overall.
  7. So this brings us full circle to talking about health inequalities again. Another aspect of health inequalities is how that affects families through unpaid caring. 50-64 is the peak age for women to provide care and, unsurprisingly, women from minority ethnic communities in which older people are most likely to report poor health, are also most likely to provide highest levels of care. Providing high levels of care obviously affects availability for work, and in turn is also linked to poorer health. So we can see that all these factors are connected – health, finances, work, homes and caring. This means that older people from some minority ethnic backgrounds experience worse health and less financial security than average – affecting their prospects for a good later life.
  8. Why does this matter now? In State of Ageing 2023- 24 we chose to highlight ethnic inequalities where we had the available data because our vision is for a society in which everyone lives a good later life cannot be achieved when there are significant inequalities between groups of people. Our analysis shows that the older population is becoming more ethnically diverse - The number of people aged 60 and over with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds has increased by 80% (to over 1 million) since the 2011 Census. And, looking at the increases in numbers of people with ethnic minority backgrounds among younger age groups, we can see it is set to become more diverse in future.
  9. I’m finishing with this quote from State of Ageing because ultimately this isn’t about trends and numbers – it is about individuals’ lives. As we have seen people age with their histories of inequality. So we need to be planning now for a more diverse older population: aiming to reduce gaps while people are as young possible; challenging policies and practices that perpetuate discrimination; and putting measures in place to support the diverse needs of older people. And the need for some people is urgent, so in the absence of wider public policy we all need to do what we can to address ethnic inequalities in ageing.
  10. We spoke to women from 50 to women in their 70’s – most were in work – at 44% (but this also included volunteering work) 39% were retired / 16% were trying to find work. Almost 2/3 of the women we spoke to were from minority ethnic backgrounds which makes the data we have explored unique and important – this was intentional as we tried to engage with women whose voices are often unheard. 36% of women stated that they had a private or occupational pension but many did not. 12% of women were asylum seekers or had leave to remain status – and this gave some very particular insights into experiences of discrimination and age And almost half of the participants were involved in some kind of unpaid work with 27% as carers.