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English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA)

Man at allotment


ELSA follows the lives of people in England ages 50 and over. 

1 in 3 people in England are now over 50, which means it's really important we understand what life is like for England’s ageing population.

ELSA helps the government plan health care services and pensions systems to best meet the needs of this growing population.

Latest findings 

You can read the latest report on ELSA's website.

Key findings include:

  • Retirees tend to have more social contact and are more likely to take part in education classes and join a political party or church group.
  • Rather than retirement, it is things like money, transport and health that are related to reduced social contact.
  • It's not all good news for retirees, 30%  to 40% of people aged 50 and over live sedentary lifestyles.
  • Today's generation of 70 year olds are doubly disadvantaged by lower levels of civic and cultural engagement and lower expectations around inheritances and gifts than today's 50 and 60 year olds, whose parents would have enjoyed greater levels of wealth and home ownership.   


We have selected people aged 50 and over who previously took part in the Health Survey for England to take part in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. We interview these people every two years.

The advantage of interviewing the same people who took part in Health Survey for England is that we can combine existing data with new data to learn much more about people's health, economic position and quality of life over time.

Other related studies

Living and caring? An investigation of the experiences of older carers.

Understanding multiple disadvantage in old age

Read ELSA reports from 2002-2010