You're viewing our new website - find out more


Number of centenarians in Scotland continues to increase

Published: 30 Sep 2015 09:30

Statistical News Release

The number of people in Scotland living for more than a century continues to grow.

Figures published today by the National Records of Scotland estimate that in 2014 there were 910 centenarians living in Scotland.

NRS Chief Executive Tim Ellis said:

"The number of people in Scotland aged 100 or more has been steadily rising. Between 2004 and 2014 the numbers rose from 510 to 910, a growth of 78 per cent.

"In 2014 there were 17 male centenarians per hundred female centenarians, an increase from 11 in 2004, reflecting a narrowing of the gap in mortality between men and women for this age group.

"Estimates of the number of people aged 90 to 99 show relatively big increases between 2010 and 2012. This is partly due to births in the years following the First World War being much higher than in the preceding years. The number of births in 1920 was the highest since the introduction of national registration in 1855."

A century ago living to a hundred was very uncommon, but this changed at the beginning of the 21st century when estimates showed there were over 500 people aged 100 years old and over in Scotland. The number of centenarians has been increasing ever since.

The overwhelming majority of centenarians are women. In 2014, women accounted for 780 of Scotland's centenarians (86 per cent) while 130 men had reached the milestone. Although the male population aged 90 to 99 increased from 2013 to 2014, almost three quarters of people in their 90s are women (72 per cent).

Since 2004, the number of centenarians relative to the rest of the population has increased. But there are still less than 2 centenarians for every 10,000 people (1.7 per 10,000).

Within Scotland, South Ayrshire had the highest proportion of centenarians and Clackmannanshire had the lowest. Glasgow City had the highest absolute number of centenarians and Clackmannanshire the lowest.

Notes to editors

  • 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.
  • 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 2014 aged 105, it would mean that he/she was alive and aged 104 in 2013 and 103 in 2012 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.
  • To make estimates for 2014, it is not possible to use death data. An average of the previous five years' age profiles is used to produce an estimate of the number of deaths in the most recent year.
  • A research paper giving estimates of those aged 90 and over by Council area has also been published today as data being developed.
  • These estimates are quality assured against figures compiled from Department for Work and Pensions databases.
  • The full report, "Centenarians in Scotland 2004 to 2014", is available at:
  • The estimates in the "Centenarians in Scotland 2004-2014" report are National Statistics which means they have been assessed by the UK Statistics Authority subject to meeting the requirements in the recent assessment report. This publication addresses these requirements.
  • The new research report "Sub-national Population Estimates for ages 90 and over, 2004 – 2014" is classified as official statistics being developed and is available on the NRS website. Feedback on the method and results are welcomed.