With reference to the concept of ‘the stages of life’ rather than ‘ages’, this paper examines the possibilities of estimating population figures for the First, Second and Third Ages in the United Kingdom, both for the present and at points in the past. The approach utilises the economic status of the citizenry – in particular, before, during and after paid work – rather than their ages or birth dates. The quantitative approximations are accompanied by a social commentary about the leverage of economic pressures, especially the calls or otherwise of employment, in effect, the Second Age, on the relative size of the First and Third Ages. It is concluded that much may be gained from ‘redrawing the composition of the population with social rather than demographic contours’.
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