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What would you like for Xmas in 2030?

Five million children are to be asked what they want when they grow up, as part of a massive survey on future lifestyles.

Debate of the Age, the largest -ever non-governmental social survey, will ask 30 million people - 60 per cent of the population - for their views on life in 2000 and beyond.

With birth rates falling and people living longer, the structure of British society will radically change during the next 20-30 years. The survey, being managed by Age Concern, will concentrate on key themes of education, health, money, family life, jobs, homes and transport.

The youth strand of the debate, "Voice of the future", will launch nationally at the end of May. In 2000 the results will form an Agenda for Action, which will be presented to Government.

Simon Knighton, the debate director, said: "How we plan to manage our society when there will be substantially fewer young people and many more older ones is the crucial challenge for the end of the 20th century."

Jacky Hendy, youth debate spokesperson, said: "For successive generations adults have had to live with the consequences and decisions others made for them when they were children. But this means children can shape their adulthood now and tell decision-makers the way they want it then. And no Government can ignore 30 million people."

The 21st is not our century. It belongs to today's children."

For more information contact: Chris Jones, Woodway Park School, Wigston Road, Coventry, CV2 2RH. Freephone: 0800 783 4652 or web site www.age2000.org.uk.

MATTERS OF LIFE AND DEATH

* In 1961 there were 3.3 million under-fives, in 2030 there will be only 1.6m (if birth rates continue falling).

* In 1951 there were 300 people over 100, in 2031 it is estimated there will be 34,000.

* From 1991-2001, the proportion of 20 to 34-year-olds in the population will drop from 21to 14 per cent.

* In 1996, for the first time, more 30 to 35-year-olds had babies than 20 to 25-year-olds.

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