What is it like to live to be 100 years old? More of us are about to find out.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s report, “Centenarians: 2010,” the number of the nation’s most senior citizens will be growing steadily for the foreseeable future. In 1980, the U.S. Census counted 32,194 centenarians. By 2010, the number was up nearly 66 percent, to 53,364.
This trend is expected to accelerate. There will be 78,000 U.S. centenarians in 2015, 143,000 in 2025, 188,000 in 2035, 310,000 in 2045, and 690,000 in 2060, according to projections based on the 2010 census. This is a nearly ninefold increase in the number of centenarians over the next 45 years compared to a projected increase in the overall U.S. population by 2060 of just 33 percent.
All of the senior age groups are growing in size, with the Baby Boomers starting to reach 65 in large numbers every year.
This trend isn’t limited to the U.S. Aging populations are a worldwide phenomenon due to several factors: global declines in birthrates, improved health care and nutrition, and better education. The trend is so powerful that around the year 2018, the number of people in the world aged 65 and older is expected to surpass the number of people age five and younger.
In the U.S., there are 1.73 people age 100 or older per 10,000 population. In Great Britain, it’s 1.95 people per 10,000; in France it’s 2.70 people per 10,000. The world leader is Japan, with 3.43 people 100 years or older per 10,000 population.
Not so long ago, it was nearly impossible to imagine reaching 100 years old. The odds of living to be 100 have been approximately one in 20 million through most of human history. Now, according to the report “An Aging World” by researchers Kevin Kinsella and Wan He, the odds are as good as one in 50 for women in “low-mortality” nations like Japan and Sweden.
Some additional facts worth pointing out: about 92 percent of American centenarians are between ages 100 and 104. In the 2010, U.S. Census, 330 persons were “supercentenarians,” which is 110 or older. Eight in ten centenarians are women. Sorry, guys!
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