Centenarians on growth in Italy despite Covid impact
Rome, June 24 (IANS) The number of people who live to be a 100 or older is on the rise in Italy, despite the otherwise devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to figures released by the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT).
In a report assessing the latest trends up to 2021, ISTAT found that the number of "super long living Italians" who are aged 100 years and older have increased from just over 10,000 to 17,000 between 2009 and 2021, and 83 per cent of them are women, reports Xinhua news agency.
At the same time, the number of those aged 105 years and older have more than doubled, from 472 to 1,111, and nine out of 10 were women, the agency said.
An interesting finding of the report was that the Covid-19 pandemic, which broke out in Italy in early 2020, causing the second highest death toll in Europe after the UK, did not impact the growth.
"Over the last 10 years, after a steady growth until 2015, the super long living part of the population was shrinking largely due to a structural effect," ISTAT said.
"However, starting in 2020, a new growth in (the number of) long living people has been observed."
Italy has been in the top league regarding the ratio of aging people in its population, with some 23.8 per cent (or 14.46 million people) aged above 65 as of January 1, according to an earlier ISTAT report.
Life expectancy at birth in the country was 82.4 years in 2021, which is also one of the highest in the world.
Analysing the demographic trends in Thursday's report, ISTAT also noted that, among the different groups, the oldest people seemed to have endured the pandemic the best.
"Unlike other age groups (within the elderly population), no major growth in deaths was observed for those aged 105 years and older during 2020," the agency said.
The number of "super centenarians", those aged 110 years and older, grew from 10 in 2009 to 17 in 2021, and they are all women.
Currently, the oldest person in Italy is a woman who is about to turn 112 years old and lives in central Marche region, according to ISTAT.
Most of the 1,111 individuals aged 105 and older in 2021 lived in northern and central Italy, although Sardinia, one of the country's two major islands, was not far behind, the report said.