NEARLY a million people in Spain are aged over 85, a sign that the excellent climate and joie de vivre make the country’s life expectancy one of the highest in the western world.
According to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), there are over twice as many women aged over 85 as men, proving once again that a female’s lifespan tends to be longer than her male counterparts.
The exact figure of people in their mid-80s or older is 989,047, of which 679,699 are women and 309,348 are men.
They represent 2.1 per cent of Spain’s population.
Unsurprisingly, the southernmost region – Andalucía – which has the warmest weather on the mainland has the second-highest number of people living to a ripe old age, with 129,237 over-85s residing there.
But Cataluña in the far north, in fact, heads up the list with 161,633 in this age bracket.
Madrid is in third place with 119,071, and these three regions make up almost half of Spain’s oldest inhabitants.
The Mediterranean region of the Comunidad Valenciana comes fourth, with nearly 93,000 very elderly residents.
Out of Spain’s 17 autonomously-governed regions, the one with the lowest figure of over-85s is the famous wine-producing district of La Rioja in the north, with just 8,435, but it is also one of the most sparsely-populated regions on the mainland.