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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

How do we live to 100 and enjoy it?

Published: 13 October 2014 Origin:  Social Statistics and Demography

What does it take for us to get to 100 years old? What are our chances of living beyond a century? How do our early years, lifestyle, work and where we live affect our lifespan? These are just some of the questions raised in a new exhibition being taken around the UK by population experts at the University of Southampton.

The ESRC Centre for Population Change (CPC), based at the University, will launch the exhibition ‘How to get to 100 and enjoy it’ in the West Quay shopping centre, Southampton (20-26 October). The tour aims to get people across the country thinking about the challenges posed by an ageing population and how this will affect their lives.

Professor Jane Falkingham, Director of the CPC and the University of Southampton’s Dean of Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences, says: “The number of 100 year olds is growing and researchers believe that in the future ageing will occur at increasingly later stages of life. It’s estimated one in three UK children born in 2014 will live to be 100 years old.

“An ageing population poses both challenges and opportunities for societies. We hope we can get people in the cities we visit to think about this social change and what it might mean in the long term for themselves and their communities."

The project to develop and promote the exhibition across Europe is led by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany. The CPC has taken the lead in the UK creating content specific to this country in conjunction with Population Europe – a network of leading European experts specialising in communicating demographic knowledge to a wider public.

The installation is divided into 10 topical areas allowing visitors to explore demographic issues through interactive activities, games and information displays. Some key facts highlighted include:

  • The United Nations estimates the number of centenarians worldwide will increase tenfold by 2050, from 320,000 today to 3.2m.
  • Our genes only make up a quarter of the factors determining how long we live. Many other factors influence our longevity, for example lifestyle and diet.
  • In Europe today there is one retiree for every four people of working age. By 2060 this is expected to rise to one in two.
  • Census data shows the population in Southampton has risen almost eight per cent since 2001.
  • In contrast to the UK as a whole, Southampton is a city with a relatively young population – with the number of people in their 20s around 51,000, compared to 30,800 over 65s.

The exhibition will be in the Southampton West Quay shopping centre from 20 – 26 October and will then move to the gallery@oxo in Oxo Tower Wharf on the South Bank in London from 29 October – 2 November, ahead of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science . It will also tour Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham and Cardiff. Entrance is free and open to everyone.

More information about ‘How to get to 100 and enjoy it’

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