Revealed: The number of Britons who want to live to be 100 years old

Queen Elizabeth ll and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend Ladies Day at Royal Ascot on June 21, 2012.
Many Britons believe they will live to be 100 years old. Prince Philip died two months before reaching his 100th birthday. (PA)

Age is just a number, but millions of Britons still want to make it to three figures.

A poll has revealed that one in seven people in the UK expect to live to the ripe old age of 100.

That may sound optimistic, even in an age of medical advancement and longer life expectancy, but it's less than felt that way just three years ago.

A poll published on Monday by Ipsos for The Longevity Forum showed that 14% of Britons expected to reach the landmark of 100, but that was a drop from more than one in five (21%) in 2019.

Whether it's the effect of the coronavirus pandemic, Russia's invasion of Ukraine or the current cost of living crisis, it would appear that the nation is more pessimistic than it was three years ago.

Intriguingly, it is younger people who are more optimistic about living until they are 100.

More than one in four (26%) of those aged 16 to 24 think they will live long enough to be a centenarian, compared to 13% of 25 to 34-year-olds and only 9% those in the 55 to 75 age bracket.

And men are more confident in their longevity than women, despite having a lower life expectancy.

One in five (20%) men think believe they will make it to 100, compared to just 9% of women.

According to the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), life expectancy at birth in the UK between 2018 and 2020 was 79 years for men and 82.9 years for women.

Read more: Cost of living payments and deadlines in the coming months

Happy senior woman and man embracing and walking outdoors on sandy beach in autumn.
Britons are slightly less optimistic about growing old than they were three years ago. (Getty Images)

Read more: What is council tax, how much do you pay & why it could be about to go up

The Ipsos survey also found that a third of Britons (35%) want to live to be 100, compared to 49% who disagree.

Those in the 25 to 34-year-old bracket are most enthusiastic about wanting a long life, with 45% saying they want to make it to 100.

While many Britons want to reach a century, they are also concerned about their quality of life should they make it to the milestone.

Only 17% think their life quality would be good at 100, and 56% think it would be poor.

The survey, carried out among 1,000 adults between 31 October and 3 November, also asked if people believed that all medical conditions and diseases will eventually become curable.

A total of 28% answered they thought that would happen, but again, this was more pessimistic than the percentage which said the same thing in 2019, when it was 38%.

The Longevity Forum said: "Despite the fact that the pandemic has caused the biggest decrease in life expectancy in decades, we remain optimistic about today’s young living to 100.

"The question remains whether these expectations will be matched by healthy longevity. The focus should rightly be on ageing well. That is the big challenge we face individually and as a society."

Mike Clemence, from Ipsos Trends and Foresight, said: "The experience of the pandemic over the last few years appears to have made Britons less optimistic that they will live to be 100 years old.

"However, they are still more optimistic about this than population projections suggest they should be, and they have more optimism still for those born in 2022.

"We also see a greater level of desire to live for a century, particularly among the young. Many expect that new technology will have improved living standards for the super-aged by the time they are receiving their telegram from the King."

According to the ONS, there were 15,120 people aged 100 and over in the UK in 2020.

The oldest living person in the world is French nun Lucile Randon, who is 118 years old. The oldest person ever was Jeanne Louise Calment from France, who was 122 when she died in 1997.

A study published last year by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne claimed that humans could live to 130 years old.