Long live us Brits!

Brits are living longer than before with record numbers now celebrating their centenary year

494384655It’s official – men and women in the UK are living longer than ever before with life expectancy for men in the UK at almost 80 years and women 83.

The Office for National Statistics said life expectancy in Britain had “reached its highest level on record for both males and females”.

Over the past 30 years there has been a five-fold increase in the number of people who live beyond their 100th birthday – with this past year seeing more people receiving 100th cards than ever before.

In the last year, sales of 100th birthday cards have risen by 22%, and overall sales of cards for people aged 60+ have increased by 29%. The largest increase was for 95th birthday cards, which increased by 48% in the last 12 months. 85th birthday cards increased by 21% while sales of cards for people celebrating their 90th birthday cards increased by 36%.

In 2008, scientist Aubrey de Gray announced his belief that the first person who will live to over 1,000 years has already been born and may already be in their 50s or 60s. Given current trends, the earliest that a person will reach their 200th birthday would be in the early part of the next century.

The number of centenarians – people who have lived over 100 years – has grown rapidly over the last century. At the time of the 1911 census, there were only 100 centenarians. This had increased to 13,361 by 2012 and this trend is expected to continue in future. So long live us Brits!

Once upon a time…

Our current-day centenarians were born into a very different Britain to the one we live in today. If you travelled back in time to 1914:

  • One of the first things you’d notice would be the smell of body odour. While we’re used to putting on fresh clothes every day, in 1914 this was something that only the wealthy could afford to do.
  • whether male or female your career options would be entirely dictated by the social class you had been born into. Without money, connections and a public school education, you would have an uphill struggle finding work…
  • you’d find that while the professions were still open to men – as long as they were from the ‘right’ background – almost all were closed to women. Women could not vote; they did attend universities, but at most institutions could not obtain full degrees; and doctors were still advising against schoolgirls competing with boys in examinations.
  • You would see your leisure time instantly shrink, as most workers, whether factory or office employees, only had Sundays off.
  • You might be a bit bored – there were limited sources of amusement for working people beyond parks, public libraries, the occasional trip to a music hall.
  • You’d find pubs were the exclusive domain of men, and women were considered of easy virtue if they propped up a bar. The strongest stimulant most working women enjoyed was a cup of tea and a gossip with a neighbor.
  • If caught short, you’d struggle to find an indoor toilet to use – only the better off enjoyed an indoor toilet, poorer communities shared brimming, pungent outdoor facilities with the whole street…

Information courtesy of Clintons Cards 


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