KUALA LUMPUR: More Malaysians are living longer, with 27,278 surviving beyond 99 years old, the 2010 National Population and Housing Census revealed.
The census also reported the number of women in this age category slightly outnumbered the men — 14,191 compared with 13,807 males.
Of these centenarians, 16,438 are Malays, 7,155 Chinese, 2,109 Indians and 1,576 others.
The current average life expectancy of a Malaysian is 75 years.
Statistics Department assistant director (population and demographic statistics division) Nurti Asmaria Asril said it was not possible to determine how many people were actually 100 years old, because when filing the census questionnaire, those 99 and above were recorded as 99 years old.
Most of the centenarians are in the peninsula (24,034), and the rest (3,244) in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.
Last year, when the census was made public, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said that Malaysians on the average were living longer compared with 10 years ago because of better healthcare.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had also said the government's efforts in providing medical services to the people and subsidising public healthcare had contributed to improvements in health and life expectancy.
Conducted once every 10 years, the Population and Housing Census gathers information through face-to-face interviews.
Human longevity is also a global phenomenon. The United Nations had said it was an accomplishment of modern society and reflected improvements in science, public policy and socio-economic development.
Recently, it was reported that the number of centenarians had increased. According to the UN, the numbers are expected to reach 4.1 million by 2050. Similarly, according to the UN's 2009 World Population Ageing report, women also constituted the majority of older people (60 years or older).
The report also forecast that Japan would experience a remarkable increase in the number of centenarians, from less than 76,000 in 2009 to almost 800,000 in 2050.
The United Kingdom office for National Statistics also reported the number of centenarians in the UK had been increasing since 2000. In 2010, there was a five-fold increase to 12,640 from 2,500 in 1980.
The ageing population in the UK mirrors that in many other European countries.