The Era of Centenarians – the Mortality of Swedish Oldest-Old

Sven Drefahl, Stockholm University
Hans Lundstrom, Statistics Sweden
Anders Ahlbom, Karolinska Institutet

Between 1960 and 2000 Swedish life expectancy at age 80 increased by 1.31 years for men and 2.58 years for women. While the number of Swedish centenarians and the maximum age at death have risen dramatically, it is still unknown whether their mortality also declined. The answer to this question is important because it remains unknown whether the aging of today's oldest old can also be postponed. For our investigation we use individual-level data of all Swedes who reached age 100 between 1969 and 2010 (N=15,231). We estimated different measures of the average age at death. First results indicate that the mortality for centenarians of both sexes remained remarkably stable over the 40 year period, even for the most recent years. This suggests that progress in delaying death has been limited to mortality at younger ages and that new development in understanding the health and treatment of the oldest-old may be necessary for future advances in longevity.

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Presented in Session 146: Becoming a Centenarian