More men now reaching their 100th birthday
More men are reaching their milestone 100th birthday, new figures show.
The gap between the number of male and female centenarians has narrowed over the last 15 years, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
In 2002, there were 8.22 women aged 100 years old or over for every man in the UK.
Last year, there were 4.85 female centenarians to every male centenarian.
More men are also living longer than 90 years.
There were 3.07 women to every man in the 90- to 94-year-old age group in 2002, compared to 2.05 in 2017.
While women have higher life expectancy, fast improvements in death rates among men decades ago mean more are now living longer, the ONS said.
The number of centenarians decreased slightly between 2016 and 2017, the figures show.
There was a total of 14,430 people 100 years old or over last year, down from 14,510.
This corresponds with a sharp drop in birth rates 100 years ago during World War One, and follows a similar trend among 90 year olds in 2007 and 2008.
Ngaire Coombs, from the centre for ageing and demography at the ONS, said: “We are continuing to see higher numbers of people aged 90 years and over in the UK due to improvements in mortality going back many decades.
“While we have seen growing numbers of centenarians in recent years, there has been a slight decrease between 2016 and 2017.
“This is due to lower numbers of births during World War One.
“The number of centenarians is likely to increase again from 2019 in line with historic birth patterns.”
In 2017, there were 579,776 people aged 90 years and older living in the UK, the data shows.
The number is continuing to increase, despite a decline in births in England and Wales 90 years ago, which reflects historic improvements in death rates, the ONS said.
Across the UK, Wales has the highest proportion of centenarians at 26 per 100,000 people, followed by England at 22 and Scotland at 17.
Northern Ireland has the lowest at 15.