11th December 2015
The chances of living to age 100 are growing with each new generation and babies born in 2064 will on average become centenarians.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show the extent of the gains in life expectancy. In 2014, life expectancy at birth in the UK was 79.3 for makes and 83 for females but by 2039 life expectancy at birth is expected to be 84.1 years for males and 86.9 years for females. This equates to an increase of around four years since 2014
The gains will increase until by 2064, life expectancy at birth for females in England is projected to rise to 100 for females in England, 99 in the UK, Wales and Northern Ireland and 98 in Scotland.
Males born in 2064 are expected to live until 97.4 years.
Some people born in 2064 may even live beyond 115 years but the ONS said ‘one must be aware that these projections are for 50 years in the future and are projecting life expectancy from birth i.e. a further 100 years into future.
‘These babies (born in 2064) will not reach their 100th birthday until 2164. The further ahead from the projection base year the more uncertain the statistics become, therefore these figures should be treated with caution.’
In terms of mortality, men are still catching up with females but the gap is quickly closing. Over the past 40 years, men have seen annual improvements of 1.9% compared with women’s 1.5%.
‘There has been an element of ‘catching up’ for males in this period with higher rates of improvement in mortality than for females,’ said the ONS.
‘This is a result of a change in working and social behaviours. For example, relatively high numbers of men who started smoking earlier in the 20th century have now given up, with smoking prevalence lowest for the oldest age groups. Changes in patterns of male employment in heavy industry may also have had some effect. There continues to be much debate amongst demographers as to whether life expectancy will continue to increase at current rates indefinitely or whether lifestyle factors such as a rise in level of obesity and in antibiotic resistance may cause the rate of mortality improvement to stop or even decline.’
Although life expectancy is still increasing each year, the ONS’s 2014 projection show a slower increase in improvements to future mortality than was projected in 2012.
‘This is because mortality rates at some ages were higher in 2012 and 2013 than we projected in the 2012-based projections,’ it said.
‘This resulted in higher mortality rates with lower annual rates of improvement in the 2014 base year than we had projected in the 2012-based projections. This means that life expectancies in the future are slightly lower than were projected last time.’