Map reveals the areas of England and Wales you’re most likely to live to 100
NEARLY 14,000 people are aged 100 or older in England and Wales, according to official data.
The Office for National Statistics said a record 13,924 people hit the landmark age in 2021, up 24 per cent on the last Census in 2011.
A quarter of centenarians said they were in good or very good health.
Lauretta Boston, from London, who turned 100 in October, said: “You never think you’re going to reach that age.
“Even a few months before, I was wondering if I was going to reach 100 because there is always something that goes wrong health-wise.
“I feel that as long as you’re mentally healthy, you can cope with most things and organise yourself.
“I deal with one thing at a time and make myself look good.”
The data shows the number of centenarians in 2021 was up 127-fold on the 110 recorded in 1921.
The group grew in number gradually from 1921 to 1961 before shooting up thanks to advances in healthcare and public health measures, the ONS said.
Ninety per cent of the centenarians were aged between 100 to 103, although some were as old as 112.
They were all born before women received the right to vote in 1928 and lived through the Great Depression and founding of the NHS.
They would have been in their late teens and early 20s during World War Two.
Centenarians now make up 0.2 per cent of the population — with greater concentrations on the south coast.
The highest proportion was seen in East Devon, where 64 per 100,000 were aged 100 or over.
This was followed by Arun in West Sussex (59 per 100,000) and New Forest in Hampshire (57 per 100,000).
Other top scorers included Somerset West and Taunton, Rother, North Norfolk, Dorset, Fylde and Folkestone.
But Christopher Snowdon, the head of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said many of these people were likely not born in these areas.
“While there must be some health benefits from breathing a fresh sea breeze, the most likely explanation for the greater density of old people on the coast is that they go there when they retire,” he told The Telegraph.
“Since not everyone can afford to do this, the elderly populations found on the coast are likely to be wealthier on average, and we know that rich people tend to live longer than poor people.
“There are also a lot of centenarians in places such Harrogate and the Cotswolds, which are landlocked but affluent.”
A total of 18 local authorities across England and Wales have more than 100 centenarians.
This includes Birmingham (193), Cornwall (177), Dorset (176) and Bournemouth (168).
The Isles of Scilly was the only area with none.
Overall, two fifths of over-100s live in communal housing, with almost 97 per cent in care homes.
Ethel Caterham, 114, is the oldest person in the UK.
Last year, she said the key to a long and happy life was family.
Despite the surge in people living to such old age, independent experts said more needs to be done to ensure everyone else lives longer and healthier lives.
David Sinclair, of the International Longevity Centre UK, said: “We are living much longer than previous generations.
“If one in four girls born today is to live to 100 then we need a dramatic rethink of how we approach our health, education, and work across much longer lives.”