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Sociology   >   Old Age and Population Ageing

The Ageing of British Society

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Old Age and Population Ageing

In this course, Professor Pat Thane (Birkbeck, University of London) explores population ageing, its causes and impacts, policies related to it, and the place of older people in society. In the first lecture, we look at the historical process of population ageing and the first policies around old age in the early 1900s. In the second lecture, we think about the welfare state and its effects on older people’s lives, in terms of state pensions, the National Health Service, and social care. In the third lecture, we survey policies related to population ageing from the 1970s to the present. Next, we review some stereotypes and realities about older people. In the fifth and final lecture, we look at ageist discrimination in employment and healthcare, and the ways in which older people have protested this.

The Ageing of British Society

In this lecture, we think about population ageing in Britain since the early twentieth century, focusing in particular on: (i) the increase in the proportion of the population aged 65+ from around 10% in 1900 to 21% today, and its causes; (ii) the “panic” around population ageing in the early 1900s, and the development of state pensions from 1908 as the first official measure to address the issue; (iii) the growing attention given to support for older people from the 1940s, including in William Beveridge’s landmark 1942 report, and the creation of the state residential care system.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Thane, P. (2022, February 07). Old Age and Population Ageing - The Ageing of British Society [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Thane, P. "Old Age and Population Ageing – The Ageing of British Society." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 07 Feb 2022,

Image Credits


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Prof. Pat Thane

Birkbeck College, London