Press release


Thursday 24 May 2012

• Older people lead patriotism for Britain
• Over 50s to celebrate the Jubilee with family and friends
• A lot has changed in 60 years, 70% think for the worse and 19% think for the better

New research* from Saga reveals that older generations are leading the way with patriotism ahead of the Diamond Jubilee. An overwhelming 85% of over 50s think it is important to feel a sense of pride and affiliation for your country, over half (53%) say the royal family helps to build integrity and manners and 64% believe the Monarchy teaches us that a sense of loyalty to one’s country is important.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the over 75s (who will most remember the coronation) are revealed to be more patriotic and supportive of the Royal Family than any other age group. 87% of over 75s claim to be patriotic, 77% of them say the Royals teach us a sense of duty, and a third (31%) say that the Government needs guidance from the head of state.

Interestingly, two in three (67%) of over 50s (and 79% of over 75s) wish that Britain was more patriotic and only 12% say they do not care about patriotism at all.

Royal Celebrations
The research revealed that those who were around during the Coronation are pulling family, friends and neighbours together for street and house parties to celebrate the crown again. A quarter (24%) will be watching it on TV with friends and family, more than one in ten (12%) will be going to street parties, and 9% will be celebrating with a family meal.

There are very few that are keen to avoid the hype entirely, as only 4% intend on leaving the country to stay away from the celebrations.

Then and now
The study from Saga,* which asked more than 8,000 over 50s about their views on patriotism, Jubilee celebrations and societal changes since the coronation also paints a picture of how different things are 60 years on. Despite the positive lessons they say society can and has learnt from the Monarchy, only 19% of over 50s believe Britain has improved since the Queen’s coronation in 1953 and 70% believe society has got worse. Saga’s research** unearths some of the interesting changes:

Then 1952

Now 2012 (60 years on) 


  • Were for a rainy day or specific events such as Christmas
  • Christmas savings clubs were set up in pubs and paid dividends in December
  • Are to keep your head above water or for future consumption
  • 50-60 year olds are keen savers holding multiple types of savings accounts


  • Children were expected to subsidise the income of those over 50
  • Over 50s are supporting themselves and children


  • Retirement was viewed as an opportunity to rest and relax
  • In 1951 the average life expectancy for men at age 65 was 12.1 years (15.5 years for women)


  • Retirement seen as an opportunity to change direction and pace of life. 39.3% of UK adults want to continue to work after retirement
  • In 2012 the average life expectancy for men at age 65 is 21.7 (24.2 years for women) 


  • 14% of households had a TV and the BBC was the only channel
  • In 1951 'What's My Line' was first broadcast on BBC TV and was one of the most popular shows throughout the 1950s 
  • 3 in 10 over 65s have Sky TV and the 50-64 age group watch the most TV per day.  There are now over 480 channels
  • The most popular show today is X-Factor 


  • Rationing was still in place and total calories consumed a day were 1818
  • The average female waist was 28".  Women burnt off over 1,000 calories a day doing housework
  • Today an average of 2178 calories are consumed a day
  • The average female waist is 34" and women have to make time for exercise 


  • Over 50s were still buying sheet music to play themselves
  •  22% of over 50s own an MP3 player

Ros Altmann, Director-General of Saga, comments, "Our research shows that the economic and lifestyle changes over the last 60 years have fundamentally transformed the lives of older people. Most notably, just as progress has meant that many older people now face longer active lives well beyond their 60s, they are equally often faced with looking after children, grandchildren and elderly relatives.

“Many of our older generations have had no other choice but to keep calm and carry on over the years and it is striking how much they feel the monarchy engenders the values of duty and integrity in all of us. Patriotism isn't a word heard very much these days but it's very much alive in the hearts and minds of older people in the UK. It's heartening to see so many older people leading the charge when it comes to the Jubilee celebrations and raises the question of how younger generations will choose to celebrate the Monarchy in years to come."





* Populus interviewed 8,035 people aged 50+, online between 11th and 15th May 2012. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council.

** Saga created the Diamond Jubilee Report to celebrate its own 60 year birthday. Research was collected in May 2011 by Your Future (london) ltd.
Life expectancy figures