France Sees Spectacular Rise in Centenarians, Surpassing 31,000 in 2024

France is experiencing a remarkable increase in centenarians, with over 31,000 people aged 100 or older as of 2024. The growing number of supercentenarians (110+ years) is attributed to advancements in healthcare and quality of life, particularly among the descendants of slavery survivors in French overseas territories.

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Mahnoor Jehangir
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France Sees Spectacular Rise in Centenarians, Surpassing 31,000 in 2024

France Sees Spectacular Rise in Centenarians, Surpassing 31,000 in 2024

France is experiencing a remarkable increase in the number of centenarians, with the country now home to over 31,000 people aged 100 or older as of the start of 2024, according to a report by the National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED). This phenomenon, virtually unheard of in France until the late 1980s, has seen the number of centenarians grow from around 1,000 in 1970 to 8,000 in 2000 and now 31,000 at the beginning of this year.

The report also highlights the rapid growth in the number of people living beyond 110 years, known as supercentenarians. In 2022, authorities recorded 39 cases of people dying at the age of 110 or older, with women dominating this group. "The growing number of people living beyond 110 years in France is a reflection of the progress in healthcare and quality of life," said INED researcher Sophie Pennec.

Why this matters: The increasing longevity in France has significant implications for social policies, healthcare systems, and intergenerational dynamics. As the population ages, it becomes essential to adapt societal structures to ensure the well-being and support of the elderly, while also fostering intergenerational solidarity and understanding.

French women currently have the highest life expectancy in the European Union at 85.2 years, and France also counted the EU's highest number of centenarians last year. Experts predict that if current trends continue, the number of people in France aged 100 or older could reach 200,000 by 2070.

The increase in centenarians is particularly pronounced in the French overseas territories of Guadeloupe and Martinique, where the population, mostly descendants of slavery survivors, may have inherited more robust genes contributing to their longevity. "The island populations in French overseas territories, mostly descendants of slavery survivors, may have inherited more robust genes adding to their longevity than population segments that were never exposed to slavery," the report suggests.

Key Takeaways

  • France has over 31,000 centenarians as of 2024, up from 1,000 in 1970.
  • The number of supercentenarians (110+ years) in France is rapidly growing.
  • Increased longevity has significant implications for France's social policies and healthcare.
  • French women have the highest life expectancy in the EU at 85.2 years.
  • Longevity is particularly pronounced in French overseas territories, likely due to genetic factors.