Four UK seaside towns dubbed ‘blue zones’ where people live longer than anywhere else

Reaching the age of 100 might seem out of reach for many of us. In the UK, the average life expectancy for men and women is around 80 years old. However, the UK actually ranks as the seventh country worldwide for highest number of centenarians, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Over the past century, the number of centenarians living in England and Wales has increased 127 times, reaching 13,924 in 2021. While this may seem like a lot, centenarians still only account for 0.02 percent of the population.

And data has shown that specific areas of the country have more people living to 100 and beyond than anywhere else.

There are four towns along the coast in the UK where almost everyone lives to 100. These have been dubbed “blue zone” towns, after areas around the world famous for the longevity of their citizens.

Official figures have shown Bournemouth, Bognor Regis, Exmouth and Axminster are hotspots for the people living the longest lives. All four are located near the coast and popular retirement spots.

Based on the 2021 census data, there were 23 centenarians per 100,000 population in England and Wales. A total of 159 local authorities had a higher number of centenarians per 100,000 population than the overall England and Wales figure.

Only four areas have more than 52 centenarians per 100,000 people, with Waverley in Surrey ranked fourth; the New Forest near Bournemouth third; Arun, Bognor Regis in second place and East Devon in the top spot.

Birmingham had the highest number of centenarians overall at 193 – but there were only 17 per 100,000 people.

The ONS said there were eight local authorities with fewer than 10 centenarians per 100,000 people.

Six were London boroughs – Newham (five per 100,000); Tower Hamlets (six); Hackney (eight); Islington (nine); Lambeth (nine); and Lewisham (9.6).

The other two were Knowsley in the north-west of England and Crawley in West Sussex – both with nine centenarians per 100,000 population.

In response to this data, Dr Carole Easton, chief executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said society is “ill-prepared for this significant demographic shift”.

“We have an ageing population, but there is no overall strategy to prepare for the complex social and policy challenges that this will generate,” she said.

“Older workers continue to be undervalued and overlooked, the vast majority of our housing does not meet the needs of the people that live in them as they age.

“Ageism is a widespread poison within our society that is not taken seriously enough.

“This is why we need a Commissioner for Older People and Ageing in England to act as an independent champion for older people and ensure that policymaking across government considers the long-term needs of our ageing population.”

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