With a family member only a few weeks short of 100 years old, I wondered how many centenarians there are.

Of course, I then received a press release from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) telling me exactly what the count was at the last census in 2021, and the number is higher than I imagined. Here are the key findings.

Image by MatissDzelve from Pixabay
  • There were 13,924 centenarians in England and Wales at the time of the 2021 Census (21 March 2021) or 0.2% of the total population. In 2011 there were 11,186. The 1921 Census recorded only 110 centenarians. It feels like some people are living longer, and the stas back it up!
  • Women outnumber men in this category. There were 11,288 female and 2,636 male centenarians living in England and Wales in 2021. This represents 23 male centenarians for every 100 female centenarians. In 2011 there were 9,283 females and 1,903 males, i.e., 20 male centenarians for every 100 females.
  • Census 2021 centenarians have lived considerably longer than would have been expected at the time of their birth. A boy born in 1921 would have been expected to live for around 61 years, and a girl around 68 years. Remarkable!
  • The ages of centenarians living in England and Wales ranged from 100 to 112, but over 90% were aged between 100 and 103 years.
  • The majority (95.8%) of centenarians living in England and Wales identified in the “White” ethnic group, 2.1% identified in the “Asian, Asian British, Asian Welsh” ethnic group, and 1.1% in the “Black, Black British, Black Welsh, Caribbean, or African” ethnic group.
  • Most of the Census 2021 centenarians (91.8%) were born in the UK, compared with 83.2% of the population as a whole.
  • A higher proportion of male centenarians were married than female centenarians. This is because males on average tend to marry women slightly younger than themselves and because the life expectancy of females tends to be longer than for males.
  • Two in five centenarians lived alone and one in five in private households with other people. The remaining two in five lived in a communal establishment.
  • The three local authorities with the highest proportion of centenarians were on the south coast. East Devon, Arun and New Forest.
  • 7 out of 10 centenarians were disabled, but a quarter of centenarians reported having “good” or “very good” health.