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Inequality the unsolved burden on older people, says James Nazroo

James Nazroo

James Nazroo, CEPAR Partner Investigator and Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester discusses the importance of later life events in shaping inequality and argues that research and policy need to bring these into sharper focus.

Professor Nazroo says there is a unique opportunity to reframe the conversation about our ageing population.

There has been much policy discussion and academic analysis on how to mitigate the costs of an ageing population, he says. Some of this has been positively framed around maximising the benefits of people becoming older, but almost none has considered the importance of mitigating inequalities in later life and the benefits that can be achieved.

The focus on avoiding inequality between generations also needs to be broadened, he says.

“Consider the work that is being done on pension reform, social and health care and age-friendly cities – I’m interested in how we can make an inequalities agenda central to this,” Nazroo says. 

Inequality has been described as the challenge of our lifetime. Nazroo will discuss how events in later life can shape inequalities and the importance of mitigating these at his Grand Challenges lecture.

“In the UK, the health of poorer segments of the population is deteriorating and there are large economic inequalities within the older generation,” Nazroo says.

“Almost all policy and academic thinking in relation to inequality focuses on what happens in early life and how this impacts inequality later in life. Rather, I suggest we seriously need to consider how to mitigate the current inequalities that exist among older people.”

Professor James Nazroo is a CEPAR Partner Investigator with major involvement in the research theme 'Sustainable wellbeing in later life'. In May, he delivered a Public Lecture on Inequality in later life: The impact on health and wellbeing, as part of the UNSW Grand Challenge on Inequality.


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The article was updated on May 29, and was originally published by Julia Nichols at UNSW Newsroom.