Fifth of Britons to reach 100: government estimate

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The British government said Thursday it estimates that nearly a fifth of the current population will live to be at least 100 years old.

More than 10 million people, or 17 percent of the population, are expected to see out their 100th birthday, said the Department for Work and Pensions.

It is estimated that by 2066 there will be at least 507,000 people alive in Britain aged 100 or older, including 7,700 aged 110 or over.

The figure is well up on the 11,800 people living in Britain who are at least 100, while there are fewer than 100 people who are aged more than 110.

"These staggering figures really bring home how important it is to plan ahead for our later lives," said Pensions Minister Steve Webb.

"Many millions of us will be spending around a third of our lives or more in retirement in the future.

"That's why we are reforming the pension system to make it sustainable for the long term, making sure people can look forward to a decent state pension when they retire, and helping millions save into a workplace pension, many for the first time."

© 2010 AFP

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