Azara Blog: England and Wales have 9000 centenarians

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Date published: 2007/09/29

The BBC says:

The number of people living beyond 100 years has reached a record high in England and Wales, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics says there are now 9,000 "centenarians" - a 90-fold increase since 1911.

Estimates suggest this will carry on rising to 40,000 by 2031.

The rapid increase in the number of very elderly people began in the 1950s and is due to improvements in housing, healthcare, nutrition and sanitation.

The proportion of the population above the age of 70 has been rising steadily, and is expected to rise further.

The over-90s are now the fastest growing age group.

Experts say this is likely to place a far greater burden on the health service, as the costs of catering for diseases of the elderly such as cancer and dementia rise too.

The same increases have been happening in other industrialised countries, the ONS says.

This is hardly surprising news. And when you are at the upper tail end of a distribution and the average moves up, it is always going to be the case that this category is going to be the "fastest growing age group" (or whatever else you happen to be talking about). Society should no longer be spending any effort trying to extend lifespan, there are zillions of other goals that are far more important (a decent education for all, decent housing for all, decent holidays for all, etc.).

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