New findings have revealed that 20-year-olds are three times more likely to live to be 100 than those of their grandparents age (80), and almost twice as likely as their parents generation (50-year-olds).
Advancements in medicine, as well as improvements to collective lifestyle and diet over the last thirty years have seen a steady and increasing rise in the number of people in the UK reaching 100 years old, with this trend projected to continue as the 21st century unfolds.
The research shows that approximately 20% of males and 27% of females born in 1991 can expect to see their 100th birthday, compared with 6% of males and 9% of females born in 1931.
Some believe, however, that predictions of such a dramatic rise in centenarians and super-centenarians (those aged 110 and over) are a little premature. Advancements in medicine and lifestyle choices may only carry us so far, and the number of people reaching such an advanced age could well level off and remain relatively few.
On the other hand, a great many of us would perhaps love to subscribe to Dr Aubrey De Grey’s theory that the first person to reach 150 could already be living among us, even if his other theory that the first person to live to 1000 will be born in the next two decades is somewhat harder to swallow.
Whichever side of the fence you sit on, it seems inescapable that more of us than ever can expect to reach a ripe old age. This, of course, raises the question about how these additional years will be funded?
The basic state pension currently stands at £102.15 per week and the strain of an ageing population is likely to force this figure down in real terms.
Pensions minister Steve Webb said: “The dramatic speed at which life expectancy is changing means that we need to radically rethink our perceptions about our later lives.
“We simply can’t look at our grandparents’ experience of retirement as a model for our own. We will live longer and we will have to save more.”