Centuries in the making: How a third of babies born today will live to the ripe old age of 100

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By Steve Doughty

PUBLISHED: 10:39 EST, 26 March 2012 | UPDATED: 16:53 EST, 26 March 2012

One in three newborns can expect to live to be 100, official figures suggest.

They show that within 50 years there will be more than a million centenarians living in Britain, compared to 14,500 this year and just 600 in 1961.

Improved diets and living conditions, along with advancements in health care are driving the dramatic demographic change.

Around a third of babies born this year are expected reach the age of 100 according to new research

Around a third of babies born this year are expected reach the age of 100 according to new research

Ministers said the figures showed the urgent need for a higher pension age and warned many taxpayers may have to wait until they are 80 before they can claim a state pension.

The figures, published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics, are based on population records and projections.

They show that a third of the 826,000 babies due to be born this year –  expected to be around 423,000 boys and 403,000 girls – will celebrate a  100th birthday.

In 2012 there are expected to be 826,000 births - 423,000 boys and 403,000 girls.

In 2012 there are expected to be 826,000 births - 423,000 boys and 403,000 girls

Because women tend to live longer than men, this means  nearly four out of ten girls and just under a third of boys are likely to  become centenarians.

Around 800,000 Britons – or one in ten men and one in seven women – celebrating their 65th birthday this year can expect to reach the landmark.

Half of women and just under half of men in their early 20s will reach 100. 

According to the most optimistic ONS projections, by 2060 nearly 600,000 women and 450,000 men will be 100  or over.

A spokesman for the ONS warned that the projections are not certain and are dependent on future economic, political and health developments.

For example, some of the prediction charts show a spike in the numbers expected to reach their 100th birthday in 2047 because of the increase in the number of newborns immediately after the Second World War.

Because more babies were born, more are likely to become centenarians.

The number of people expected to live to their 100th birthday by their age in 2012

Living long: This graph show the number of people expected to live to their 100th birthday by their age in 2012

There is a similar peak due in 2062 which ties in with the 1960s baby boom, and a trough to mark the 100th birthday of those born in 2001, when there was a downturn in birth rates.

Pensions Minister Steve Webb said: ‘These figures really bring home how important it is to plan for later life and how we can’t go on paying the state  pension at an age set early in the  last century.

‘That’s why we have increased the  state pension age, plan to bring in a  single tier state pension and Automatic Enrolment will help put an end to  the decline in pension saving and set millions on course for a more prosperous retirement.’

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