On 1 October 2014, there were nearly 2.2 thousand people in the Netherlands aged 100 years or older, i.e. more than twice as many as on 1 January 2000. Statistics Netherlands announced today that the number of centenarians is likely to have doubled again in 2025.
Centenarians fastest growing age group
Together with over-90s, centenarians are the fastest growing age group in Dutch society. In 2025, the centenarian population in the Netherlands is expected to have reached approximately 4.5 thousand. The reason for the increase can almost entirely be attributed to the reduced mortality rate for people at an advanced age. Numerous publications show that – even now – centenarians are surprisingly healthy and few among them suffer from chronic, age-related diseases. Fewer than one in twenty, for example, die from cancer.
Male centenarian population expected to grow
Women constitute the vast majority in the centenarian population and female centenarians also have the highest growth rate: their number has more than doubled since 2000. The male centenarian population does not grow so fast. Until 2025, the male centenarian population is also expected to grow significantly. An important reason for the increase in male over-100s is that, in the past two decades, their chances of survival have risen more rapidly than those for women. The number of male smokers has been reduced dramatically and at the same time, the number of female smokers has grown. Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, health care has also improved; the chance for 65-year-old men and women of becoming centenarians has doubled. This trend is expected to continue.
Dutch centenarian population relatively small compared to the rest of Europe
In Europe, the Netherlands is at the bottom end of the list with respect to the size of the centenarian population; there are 115 people aged 100 years or older in every 1 million residents. In Spain, France, Italy and Greece, the ratio is more than twice as high. One of the reasons is the ageing of the populations in these countries. The populations in Italy and Greece are among the oldest in Europe.