Wednesday, February 24News For London

UK life expectancy projected to hit 100 for first time in 2064

The Office of National Statistics has published data, indicating that some of us should expect to live to the age of 100 by the year 2064

Photo by Ian MacKenzie / CC BY

 

By the year 2064, women living to the age of 100 will have become the norm, the ONS has said.

Projections for UK cohort life expectancy suggest that, adjusting for expected mortality rates in future years, women can expect their life expectancy to rise from about 94 years now to 100 years by 2064.

Male cohort life expectancy is expected to lag behind slightly, but is also likely to climb from about 90 years in 2014 to 97 by 2064.

Lowered expectations

The figures would represent a continuation of a long-running trend for the UK; life expectancy rising to new all-time highs.

The statisticians at the ONS are regularly projecting the size of the UK population, and for the 2014-based projections, they have actually had to lower with their assumptions for mortality in the future.

Dr Mike Murphy, from the London School of Economics told Westminster World that it was reasonable for many to assume they would live to 100, but added that “many will be disappointed”.

Life expectancy figures serve as an average figure for the population as a whole, at which statisticians expect at least half the population to live to.

The headline figure of female cohort life expectancy hitting 100 in 2064 is actually 2 years later than the ONS’s original predictions, for 2012-based population projections.

An explanation for the ONS’s dampened expectations is the recent rise in mortality, following the winter of 2014-15.

In England and Wales alone, the number of excess winter deaths hit 43,900 for 2014-15, representing what the ONS described as a “27 per cent” increase on the previous years.

The ONS did highlight that projections so far into the future are a rough science at best, saying the likelihood of the longer-term projections was “uncertain” and that the figures should be “treated with caution”.

Their logic is that the further you try to project into the future, the harder it comes to give a wholly accurate projection.

The downgrading of the ONS’s projections will add to the debate about the limits of technology and improvements in healthcare.

Dr Mike Murphy claimed it was possible that such a limit to growth in longevity may have been reached, but insisted that there has been “no evidence so far” to suggest that we have reached this point yet.