Record Number Of Centenarians A Reminder We Need To Better Prepare For Ageing Population

New figures show the number of centenarians living in England and Wales is at an all-time high, with 13,924 people being over 100 in 2021.

These numbers have risen 127-fold since the 1921 Census and show a 24.5% increase since the 2011 Census.

Of the top ten local authorities with the highest proportion of people aged over 100, nine of them are on the coast including East Devon, Arun and New Forest. Birmingham had the highest number of centenarians overall.

A quarter of centenarians report being in either good or very good health, with almost one in three reporting having no disability.

Dr Carole Easton, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:

“The fact that there are now 13,924 centenarians living in England and Wales, an increase of almost 25% in the past ten years and the highest number of 100+ ever recorded by our national census, is a cause for celebration.

“Our growing ageing population should not be seen as an intractable problem. There is enormous value in people living longer and continuing to contribute to society that should not be overlooked or restricted by outdated views of ageing and what is possible in later life.

“But it should also serve as a reminder that as a society we are ill-prepared for this significant demographic shift, with no overall strategy to prepare for the complex social and policy challenges that this will generate.

“For example, older workers continue to be undervalued and overlooked, the vast majority of our housing does not meet the needs of the people that live in them as they age, ageism is a widespread poison within our society that is not taken seriously.

“This is why we need a Commissioner for Older People and Ageing in England to act as an independent champion and ensure that policymaking across government considers the long-term needs of our ageing population.”