Today's kids could live for 130 years

·2-min read

Statisticians estimate that a child already born could live past 130 years old.

The number of people who live past the age of 100 has been on the rise for decades, up to nearly half a million people worldwide, due to advances in medical and scientific technology, as well as the world's growing population.

However, there are far fewer "supercentenarians," who live to age 110 and the oldest living person ever, Jeanne Calment of France, was 122 when she died in 1997, four years older than current record holder, 118-year-old Kane Tanaka of Japan.

Extreme longevity will rise slowly by the end of the century, according to researchers from the University of Washington, meaning that they believe it's certain Calmet's record will be broken.

"People are fascinated by the extremes of humanity, whether it's going to the moon, how fast someone can run in the Olympics, or even how long someone can live," said lead author Michael Pearce, a UW doctoral student in statistics. "With this work, we quantify how likely we believe it is that some individual will reach various extreme ages this century."

Pearce's team used Bayesian statistics to calculate their findings, discovering there's 100 per cent chance of a new record holder, a 99 per cent probability someone will live to 124, 68 per cent of their being a living 127 year old, and a 13 per cent chance an individual breaks the 130 barrier by 2100.

However, Adrian Rafferty, who partnered with Pearce on the study, said they believe that medical advances won't mean there's a sudden glut of people reaching such an advanced age, as past 110 years old our mortality rate flattens out.

"It doesn't matter how old they are, once they reach 110, they still die at the same rate," Raftery explained. "They've gotten past all the various things life throws at you, such as disease. They die for reasons that are somewhat independent of what affects younger people. This is a very select group of very robust people."

As a result, a 110 year old has the same probability of dying within the next year, around 50 per cent, as someone five years older.

The new study, published in the journal Demographic Research, was funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development.

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