An 85 per cent increase over the past 15 years means there were 14,430 centenarians in 2017, the Office for National Statistics said.
And men are narrowing the gender gap. In 2002 there were 8.22 females for every male centenarian but this has almost halved to 4.85.
Last year there were 579,776 people aged 90 or over. The rise in numbers of very old people will add pressure to many public services, especially the UK’s crisis-hit social care system and the NHS.
The news prompted renewed support for the Daily Express crusade for the appointment of a minister for older people.
Cracks Jane Ashcroft, chief executive at Anchor, which provides housing and care for the elderly, called on the Government to ensure public services can keep up.
She said: “It is important we celebrate that we are living longer.
“But as the figures increase, government must step up to ensure good social care, housing and healthcare for older people – who too often fall through the cracks.
“The appointment of a dedicated minister for older people would send a clear message that the Government is serious about addressing the needs of today’s and future generations of older people.”
Wales has the highest proportion of centenarians at 26 per 100,000 people, followed by England at 22 and Scotland at 17. Northern Ireland has the lowest at 15.
Our Respect For The Elderly crusade has consistently called for a voice at the highest level to champion pensioner rights. Please sign our online petition for a minister for older people at: https://petition. parliament.uk/petitions/220923
…but life-expectancy has stalled leaving UK trailing other nations
LIFE-EXPECTANCY in Britain has stalled, leaving the UK trailing other Western nations, official figures revealed yesterday.
After years of living longer, Britain now lags behind Switzerland, Italy and New Zealand. Only a handful of countries, including the US and Poland, fare worse, analysis by the Office for National Statistics found.
Life expectancy did not rise between 2015 and 2017 – staying at 79.2 years for men and 82.9 for women. In Scotland and Wales it fell, with men and women dying on average 0.1 years earlier. It is the first year not to record a rise since records began in 1982.
Janet Morrison, of the charity Independent Age, called the slowdown “concerning” and said the figures “starkly highlight the need for health and care services to adapt to our ageing population”.
But Jon Greer, of investment specialists Quilter, said: “Historical data shows us that lifeexpectancy does not increase at a steady pace. It goes in bursts that correspond with medical advancements. It is critical people are realistic about the possibility of surviving into their 90s.”
Jon Date, of the International Longevity Centre-UK, warned of a “growing health divide”, saying: “What is clear from our research is that the gap in life expectancy between the rich and poor is worsening over time.”
In England and Wales, 2015 saw the biggest percentage increase in deaths since 1968. And in 2017, Scotland saw the highest number of deaths registered since 2003.