From 1950 to 2010, the number of centenarians in Switzerland virtually doubled every ten years. Between 2012 and 2018, this trend stabilised. From 2018 onwards, the number of centenarians will increase again, with an average of almost 100 new centenarians per year, of which more than 80% are women.
According to the longitudinal analysis on mortality (generational life tables 1876-2030), it can be estimated that one in four girls and one in six boys born in 2021 may become centenarians.
The number of centenarians will probably increase again over the next few decades because of longer life expectancy.
Cantonal distribution of centenarians
By the End of 2021, Switzerland had 22 centenarians per 100 000 residents. The cantons with the greatest concentration of centenarians were Ticino and Basel-Stadt with more than 35 centenarians per 100 000 residents. Those with the lowest number were Thurgau and Zug with less then 11 per 100 000 residents.
The ranking of the cantons is slightly different when the number of centenarians is compared to that of seniors (65 years or over). The top trio of Geneva, Basel-Stadt and Ticino recorded 200, 180 and 174 centenarians respectively per 100 000 seniors.
Centenarians are not always widows or widowers
In terms of marital status, the vast majority of centenarians are widows or widowers. It is however interesting to note that one in ten centenarian has never changed their marital status throughout their life and has thus always remained single. Among those who never married are a large proportion of women.
Centenarians in Europe
On 1 January 2021, Switzerland is in the middle of the international ranking, with values similar to those of Denmark, i.e. 20 centenarians per 100,000 inhabitants.
Statistical sources and concepts