The common saying that demography is destiny divides opinion. But there can be no doubt that demographic factors such as age, income, ethnicity, education and income have a decisive bearing on our everyday lives. To take one topical example, the risks from Covid-19 are highest among older men with underlying health conditions.
This collection of articles looks at demographics through the prism of public policymaking and regulated industries. The government’s ambition to tackle regional inequalities by levelling up economic and social outcomes is, in essence, an exercise in applied demographics. Why do people in rich parts of Britain live much longer than those in poor areas, and do we address the problem by targeting people or places? Separately, the welcome trend of longer lives highlights the need to encourage more saving for what will probably be a lengthy retirement.
Vulnerability and demographics
For water companies, understanding the characteristics of households that default on their bills is critical for cost efficiency. In the telecoms sector, population density and average incomes are among the factors shaping firms’ 5G rollout strategies. Energy providers need to know the demographic forces driving vulnerability if they are to fulfil their regulatory duty to provide special services to customers in need.
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