Statistically speaking

  • In 1851 half of the population of England and Wales died by 45. In 2001 half of the population of England and Wales died by 85.
  • In the UK there are currently just over 10,000 centenarians. In 2050 there will be 500,000.
  • Half of the UK’s young women who were born towards the end of the last century could see three centuries (19th, 20th and 21st) in their lifetime.

These are just some of the staggering statistics that Professor Sarah Harper highlighted in her Oxford London Lecture, 21st Century – the last century of youth, to explain the way the world’s demography is changing.

What was almost as impressive as the incredible research and information that she presented was the fact that she managed to hold the audience – from the suited businesspeople to university students and school pupils (I won’t deny that before the lecture began I considered moving away from the row of 17 year olds chattering away while constantly tapping away on their phones) – absolutely spellbound.

The Guardian will have a video of Sarah’s lecture on their site on Friday 16th March so watch this space, as we’ll add a link here.

Technology & Innovation