125 on the horizon

How much older will humans still become? In 50 years, the first woman will reach the age of 125, according to Fanny Janssen, associate professor of demography at the University of Groningen, and her colleagues. ‘The chances of survival are increasing as a result of advances in medicine. Consequently the odds of becoming very old are also on the rise.’

Who will eventually reach the age of 125 first?

The researchers are focusing on Japan, where an increasing number of women are making it past a hundred. The odds of dying are still high for your average centenarian, but the growing number of people in this group means it’s plausible that one of them will reach this record age, Janssen says. ‘If you throw dice often enough, you’ll eventually get a six.’

That’s why it’s more likely to be a Japanese than a Dutch citizen to be given a cake with 125 candles. The Dutch ‘stock’ of centenarians is not big enough for that yet, but eventually the age record will increase here too, according to Janssen. ‘We haven’t reached the threshold our lifespan yet. But 125 will remain unique.’

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