British Queen celebrates


The number of centenarians in England and Wales has surged to a remarkable new high, with nearly 14,000 individuals reaching this age milestone. According to the 2021

census data, this figure reflects a staggering increase of 25% compared to a decade ago and a remarkable contrast to the mere 110 centenarians recorded during the 1921 survey.

Among this population, the oldest person identified was aged 112, as revealed by an analysis conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

A noteworthy trend indicated that regions near the coastline tend to have a higher concentration of centenarians, with East Devon, Arun, the New Forest, and North Norfolk ranking among the top areas relative to their populations. Notably, nine of the top 10 locations in this metric were coastal areas.

Birmingham claimed the title for the highest number of centenarians overall, totaling 193 individuals. However, when considering population size, it ranked relatively lower.

Remarkably, six out of the eight local authorities with fewer than 10 centenarians per 100,000 population were London boroughs. Additionally, Knowsley and Crawley both reported nine centenarians.

These census results underscore the significant advancements in life expectancy during the 20th century, with the number of individuals reaching the age of 100 rising notably starting from the 1960s. This increase can be attributed to improvements in healthcare for the elderly, along with public health initiatives that have enhanced air quality and working conditions.

In 2021, there were 11,288 female centenarians and 2,636 male centenarians, reflecting the well-established trend of women living longer. On average, centenarians were 101 years old, one month, and two weeks.

In stark contrast, at the time of birth for these centenarians in 1921, life expectancy stood at 67.9 years for females and 61.2 years for males. This means that they have exceeded their expected lifespans by three or four decades and have witnessed significant historical events, including women gaining the right to vote, the Second World War, the establishment of the NHS, and the advent of television.

Interestingly, a quarter of these centenarians reported being in good or very good health, with nearly a third not experiencing any disabilities.

The ONS also interviewed Lauretta Boston, who celebrated her 100th birthday in October 2022. She shared her perspective on aging, emphasizing the importance of mental health and self-care. According to her, focusing on looking and feeling good has been a key factor in maintaining her well-being.

Ms. Boston reminisced about witnessing gas lights being lit on the streets of London, celebrating Empire Day with flags at school, and observing neighbors facing financial challenges during the Great Depression.

For babies born in 2021, life expectancy was projected to be 90.5 years for girls and 87.6 years for boys. While approximately 19.6% of females and 14.1% of males could anticipate becoming centenarians, the pace of improvement in life expectancy has been slowing down. Photo by Dr Neil Clifton, Wikimedia commons.