The Norfolk constituency which is officially the oldest in the country
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It’s official - Norfolk is home to the oldest constituency in the UK.
And with a new projection showing the aging trend in North Norfolk is only set to increase, questions have been raised about how well the region’s healthcare and infrastructure can keep up.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show North Norfolk has the highest median age in the UK - 54.3.
The constituency also has the highest proportion of people aged 65 and over (33.2pc) and the equal highest proportion of those aged 85 and over - 4.8pc.
In contrast, of its population of 105,800, North Norfolk has the second lowest proportion of people of working age (16 to 64 years) in the entire UK, just 53pc.
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North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker said better healthcare facilities were needed to keep up with the aging population.
Mr Baker said: “Improving the A&E unit at the Norfolk and Norwich [University Hospital] will hugely help North Norfolk - that will enable ambulances to respond faster. We also want to see improved facilities at Cromer Hospital.”
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Neil Park, from the ONS’s population estimates unit said the country’s population grew at its slowest rate for 15 years between mid-2018 and mid-2019 because of a low birthrate, rising emigration and falling immigration.
Mr Park added: “The proportion of people aged 65 or over ranges from over 30pc in coastal areas such as North Norfolk to less than 8pc in parts of central London like Tower Hamlets.”
ONS figures show North Norfolk’s older age groups are set to rise while younger age groups will stagnate or decrease.
For example, by 2043 there will be an estimated 8,100 80 to 84-year-olds in the constituency, a 63pc increase on the 2020 figure of 4,968.
But for five to nine-year-olds, that figure is predicted to shrink from 4,726 in 2020 to 4,367 by the year 2043 - a 7.6pc decrease.
Mr Baker said building business opportunities could help redress the demographic imbalance.
He said: “I believe hugely in the apprenticeship scheme. We need to get the jobs in place in order to attract more families.”