More and more centenarians

On 1 January 2001 nearly 1,100 people in the Netherlands were one hundred or older. This number has increased relatively quickly since the 1950s. Until 1950 there were never more than thirty people over a hundred years old.

The increase in the number of people reaching these ages in the second half of the twentieth century is only partly caused by an increase in the number of births in the nineteenth century. By far the most important cause is the decrease in the mortality risk. With the installation of clean water supplies, and the subsequent reduction in infectious disease, the risk of young and old people dying was reduced considerably, and life expectancy increased to the same extent.

The number of women aged one hundred or older on 1 January 2001 is more than five times the number of men. The reason for this is that women have a lower mortality risk than men at all ages.

Since the mid 1990s the number of men aged one hundred or older has fallen slightly, while the number of women in this age group continues to rise. This is because the mortality risk for men aged 85 and older has risen more strongly than the risk for women in the last ten years.

Population aged 100 years or older by sex

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The number of people aged one hundred or older will continue to increase. Around 2020 an expected two thousand Dutch people will have celebrated their hundredth birthday.

Carel HarmsenCarel Harmsen