A centenarian is an individual who has lived for at least 100 years. Centenarians are rare because the average life expectancies all over the world are below 100 years. As of 2012, the United Nations estimated that there were at least 316,600 people around the world who were aged above 100 years. In the recent past, the population of people around the world has been increasing dramatically, and similarly, the population of the centenarians is also expected to increase in the future. It is projected that 1/3 of all the babies born in 2013 in the UK are expected to live up to 100 years. Countries with a high population of centenarians include the US, China, and Japan.
Countries With The Most Centenarians
In 2015, the US was home to more centenarians than any other country in the world. At the time, there were approximately 72,000 centenarians in the country. The number of centenarians in the US has been increasing because in 1950 the US was home to roughly 2,300 centenarians while in 2010 there were 53,364 centenarians in the country. According to a report published by the Smithsonian magazine, the increase in the number of centenarians in the US can be attributed to the improvements in the field of medicine and the increased awareness by people on the importance of staying healthy. Some of the most famous centenarians in the US include Sarah Knauss, who lived to 119 years old and holds the record for being the oldest American in recorded history, and Alelia Murphy, who is currently the oldest living American. Sarah Knauss' daughter, Kathryn, was also a centenarian as she died at the age of 101. Mary Bidwell, another famous American centenarian holds the record for the oldest person to die in the state of Connecticut.
Another country with a high number of centenarians is Japan which was home to approximately 67,824 centenarians in 2017. Despite an initial decline from 1950 to 1960, the number of centenarians in Japan has been increasing. There are approximately 48 centenarians for every 100,000 individuals which was the highest ratio in the world. According to a report published by the Japan Times, women accounted for nearly 90% of the centenarians in Japan, as of 2018. Kane Tanaka currently holds the record for being the oldest person in Japan as well in the whole world as she is now 116 years old. Nabi Tajima holds the record for being the oldest Japanese person in recorded history as she died at the age of 117 years in 2018.
In 2011, China was home to roughly 48,921 centenarians which was a significant increase from the number of centenarians in the country in 2007 when they were approximately 17,800. The Chinese village of Bama is famous all over the world due to the high number of centenarians within its borders.
Research On Centenarians
Several studies have been carried out to determine the secret of centenarian’s long life with the most prestigious one being the New England Centenarian Study. The study focused on the genetic factors that contributed to people living past the age of 100 and found that individuals were four times more likely to reach 90 if their siblings were centenarians. Other studies focused on the biochemical factors that lead to a long life and found a link between high levels of Vitamin A and E and living past the age of 100.