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Web magazine, 16 September 2010 15:00

More male centenarians

Early this year 1,743 Dutch residents were one hundred years of age or older, an increase in absolute figures by 115 relative to 2009. For the first time in years, there was an increase in male centenarians. The eldest woman in the Netherlands was born in 1901, the eldest man in 1902.

Centenarians by gender

Centenarians by gender

Number of male centenarians increases by 36

The increase in the number of centenarians since the 1980s was almost entirely due to an increase in female centenarians. Men constituted an ever decreasing minority: currently, only one in seven centenarians are men, as men run a higher mortality risk. Between the late 1960s and the early 1980s, their mortality risk developed unfavourably. Last year, for the first time in many years, the number of male centenarians grew distinctly from 210 to 246.

Centenarians by gender and age, 2010*

Centenarians by gender and age, 2010*

New age record unlikely in the near future

Nearly half of centenarians are 100 years old and one third are 101. These proportions have changed little in the course of time. The eldest woman was born in 1901, although her exact date of birth is not known. The eldest man is 107 years old. The Dutch age record, which was set in 2005 and stands at 115, will not be broken in the near future.

Centenarians, 2010-2050 (forecast)

Centenarians, 2010-2050 (forecast)

Sharp growth anticipated when first baby boomers become 100 years old

Because mortality risks for very old persons do not change significantly, the number of centenarians is predominantly determined by the growth of potential centenarians, i.e. people who are currently in their eighties and nineties.

A forecast calculation shows that the increase in the amount of male centenarians is likely to continue over the next decades and will grow considerably from 2046. The first baby boomers will reach the age of 100 in that year. The Netherlands are anticipated to have nearly 14 thousand centenarians by then. Approximately one third will be men. Although people in the Netherlands will live longer, centenarians will still be rare as only one in approximately 1,250 residents will reach that age.

Joop Garssen and Carel Harmsen

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