The UK’s elderly population has reached a record high and the number of adults aged 100 rose by more than 10% in the space of a year, figures show.

There were 13,330 centenarians in 2019 – a 5.2% rise from 2018, while the number of adults aged 100 rose 11%, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates.

The number of people over 105, known as semi-supercentenarians, has also risen.

The number of males aged 105-plus has more than doubled in the last decade, while the number of females of this age has risen by around half.

Centenarians in the UK
(PA Graphics)

The figures also show there were 605,181 people aged 90 and over in 2019, a 3.6% rise on the previous year and the highest level on record.

Just over twice as many women as men were alive at this age last year.

There was a 62% rise in the number of 99-year-olds alive in 2019 compared with the previous year – a result of a birth spike after the First World War.

Estimates of the very old are calculated from death registration data and occur at the mid-point of each year.

The analysis covers a period before the coronavirus outbreak.

Analysts say they expect the number of centenarians to rise sharply, as a result of the post-war baby boom, but that Covid-19 may influence this.

Rose Giddings, from the ONS’s Centre for Ageing and Demography, said : “The UK population aged 90 years and over grew to its largest size in 2019.

“Historical improvements to male life expectancy continued to narrow the gap between men and women in this age group to its lowest level on record, with around two women to every man.”

(PA Graphics)

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK charity director, said the growing number of older people is “cause for real celebration”.

She added: “The most urgent priority is to help keep each and every one of them fit and well this winter, but medium term we also need to ensure there are enough really high-quality health and care services available to meet their needs, and that means more Government investment.

“Our social care system has been chronically underfunded for years and will simply not be able to cope with the extra demand unless substantially more money is found.”

Catherine Foot, director of evidence at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “We know that the Covid-19 crisis has disproportionately affected older people and may have a devastating impact on the progress we have made, increasing the levels of health inequality we saw pre-pandemic.

“With more of us living to older ages, improving the health of the population must be top of the Government’s agenda in order to ensure we can live our longer lives in better health and more resilient to future crises.”