500,000 centenarians in Britain by 2066: study

British 20-year-olds are twice as likely to reach their 100th birthdays as their parents, threatening a crisis in public provision of health and welfare for the elderly, official figures showed Thursday.

A Department for Work and Pensions study stated that babies born this year will be 50 times more likely to become centenarians than babies born 100 years ago.

Pensions Minister Steve Webb said: "These figures show just how great the differences in life expectancy between generations really are.

"The dramatic speed at which life expectancy is changing means that we need to radically rethink our perceptions about our later lives."

The report also predicted that there would be around 500,000 people aged over 100 by 2066 as diets, living standards and health care continue to improve.

"We simply can't look to our grandparents' experience of retirement as a model for our own," added Webb.

"We will live longer and we will have to save more."

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