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Historic Dorset town is UK’s retirement capital

16th September 2013 Print

The South West England is the most popular place to live in the UK for retirees, with more pensioners per head in Christchurch, Dorset than anywhere else in the country, according to analysis from Prudential.

Prudential’s analysis of the latest UK census data shows that three in every ten people (30 per cent) living in Christchurch are retired. The figures show that the proportion of pensioners in the town is over 80 per cent higher than the UK average of 16 per cent. Christchurch – also home of the most expensive beach hut in the UK – has a total population of nearly 50,000, of which more than 14,000 are pensioners.

South West England is the most popular region in the UK for retirees generally. Over a million pensioners live there – 20 per cent of the total population – and five of the UK’s top ten places to live for retirees are in the region. Alongside Christchurch, other West Country retirement hotspots include: West Somerset (second in the UK overall: 29 per cent), East Devon (fifth: 28 per cent), East Dorset (sixth: 28 per cent) and West Dorset (eighth: 27 per cent).

Across the UK, approximately one in six or 16 per cent of the population is retired, equating to more than ten million people. London is home to 17 of the 20 local authorities with the lowest proportion of pensioners in the country. The London Borough of Tower Hamlets has the lowest proportion of retirees of any local authority in the UK, with only six per cent of people living there aged over 65.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement expert at Prudential, said: “The latest census results throw a light on the most and least popular places to retire. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s a tendency for people to move out to the country when they stop working, where property prices can be lower and the quality of life is often thought to be higher.

“The census figures back up the findings of our previous study into home ownership by retired people. Many are freeing up funds to boost their income or reduce their living costs by downsizing or moving to where property prices are lower. And according to our new research, those moves tend to be to the countryside.

“However, people planning to stop working shouldn’t assume that a move to the country is the simple answer to a comfortable retirement, as the cost of living in these hot spots can be surprisingly high. People looking to secure the best possible quality of life after work should seek assistance from a financial adviser or retirement specialist to help maximise their income. It is also important to start saving as much as possible as early as possible in your working life towards your retirement.”

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