Centenarians in Scotland

A National Statistics publication for Scotland.

The number of people aged 100 and over has dropped to 810 in 2018 from 860 in 2017, according to figures published today by National Records of Scotland.

The largest number of centenarians on record was 920 in 2014. The decrease since then corresponds to lower birth rates during the First World War and a recent stall in life expectancy.

Despite the slight decline in recent years, the number of centenarians has increased by 17% since 2008 and is 4.8 times as many as when records began in 1981.

There are many more women who live for over 100 years than men, reflecting the longer life expectancy of females. In 2018, there were 690 female centenarians (85% of all centenarians) compared with 120 men.

The male centenarian population increased by 20% over the past decade (from 100 in 2008 to 120 in 2018), while the female population had a slightly lower growth rate of 17% (from 590 in 2008 to 690 in 2018).

Since 2008, the number of centenarians relative to the total population has increased from 1.3 to 1.5 centenarians for every 10,000 people in Scotland in 2018.

As well as the number of centenarians, the publication also provides estimates of the very old population, those people aged 90 and over.


1. There is no register of centenarians, so the figures are estimates based on population information rolled forward from the 2011 Census. Therefore we do not know who the oldest person in Scotland is.

2. NRS uses ‘age at death’ data to build up a profile of the number of elderly people in Scotland. For example, if someone died in 2017 aged 105, it would mean that he/she was alive and aged 104 in 2016 and 103 in 2015 etc. By collating ‘age at death’ data for a series of years, it becomes possible to make a good estimate of the number of people of a given age alive in any particular year.

3. It is not possible to use deaths data to estimate the number of people aged 90 and over who are still alive. For this reason, the population of living people over the age of 90 in 2018 has to be calculated as the average of the previous five years’ age profiles.

4. The full report, “Centenarians in Scotland 2008 to 2018”, is available in the Centenarians section of the National Records of Scotland (NRS) website.

Media enquiries should be directed to: Donna Green, phone 0131 535 1307 or email communications@nrscotland.gov.uk

Further information about the statistics is available from NRS Customer Services, phone 0131 314 4299 or email statisticscustomerservices@nrscotland.gov.uk



Back to top