Britain is one of world’s most age-segregated countries, study finds

Sally Weale Education correspondent
Photograph: Alamy

Britain is one of the most age-segregated countries in the world with divisions between generations increasing over the last decade, according to a report.

The report by United for All Ages, a social enterprise that works to bring together old and young, calls for urgent action to end what it calls the “age apartheid” dividing the country.

It says people often have little contact with other generations outside their own families. Divisions have grown, it says, partly as a result of housing market trends, with wealth concentrated among older generations who tend to live in towns and rural areas while younger people gravitate towards cities.

United for All Ages, which was set up in 2010, supports intergenerational projects as a way of tackling key social and economic issues, including housing, anxiety and loneliness.

Related: The ugly truth about ageism: it's a prejudice targeting our future selves

Its report, Together in the 2020s, highlights recent progress with a growing number of intergenerational initiatives, including projects which bring together children in schools and nurseries with older people in care homes.

The report calls for care homes to become community hubs; for schools to extend their opening hours to provide community spaces for intergenerational activities and an increase in home-sharing schemes to promote intergenerational living.

Other proposals include designating a bank holiday as a national day of unity to help bring the country together and a new government department for connection dedicated to supporting intergenerational action.

Stephen Burke, a director at United for All Ages, said: “Bringing Britain together is one of the biggest challenges for the new decade. The last decade saw huge disconnection and division.

“More mixing between the generations is the way to build trust and understanding across our communities and our country. To make it happen requires not just vision and ambition, but also political will and leadership locally and nationally.”