100-year lifespan
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100-year lifespan
More than half of all children in rich countries will live to be 100 – but is this a blessing or a curse?

There are now so many centenarians that a few years ago the UK government hired additional staff for the office that ensures they all get a birthday card from the Queen on their hundredth birthday. More than half the children born in rich countries today will live to 100.

In their book The 100-Year Life, Andrew Scott and Lynda Gratton argue that longevity may be great, but will have a huge impact on society; individuals, businesses and governments are not adequately prepared.

Most people will be capable of working well into their 80s. Many, unfortunately, will be forced to. But it’s not just about pensions. Lockstep progression from education to work to retirement will end as people dip in and out of the workforce. More workers will have several careers. Human relationships will change too, as some centenarians find themselves living with four generations of family.

One hundred years is a very long time in human terms. To put it in perspective, there was a dip in the number of UK centenarians between 2016 and this year because fewer people had children during World War One. Newly minted centenarians will look back on a very different world as they celebrate their birthdays in 2019. But will they consider their longevity a blessing or a curse?

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Image credit: Piero Zagami and Michela Nicchiotti.

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