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Tips on how to live to be 100: Reflection on Centenarians 2010 Report

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
longevity, centenarian, gender disparity,  ethnic disparities, US Census

The report, Centenarians: 2010, was released on December 10 by the US Census Bureau. The bureau counted 53,364 centenarians: individuals aged 100 or older in the United States. It also provided a breakdown in factors related to longevity such as age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, and living arrangement characteristics. It also compares centenarians with other age groups in the older population. Sorry guys; for every 100 centenarian women, there were only 20.7 centenarian men.

The report notes that the population 100 and older comprised a small proportion of the total US population; less two per 10,000 individuals made it to age 100. Centenarians represented 19 per 10,000 people who were 70 and older. More than half (62.5%) of centenarians were age 100 or 101 while approximately 92% were ages 100 to 104. Supercentenarians––those aged 110 or older––represented 0.6% of the centenarian population.

The report noted that centenarians exhibited less diversity than the total US population. In 2010, 82.5% of centenarians were white alone, compared with 72.4% white alone in the total population. Among centenarians, 5.8% were Hispanic; however, the total population was 16.3 percent Hispanic. Compared to any other living arrangements, centenarian women were slightly more likely to live in a nursing home (35.2%), and centenarian men were more likely to be living with others in a household (43.5%). Other discrepancies between Hispanic and Caucasian were found among those that were centenarians. Those who were white or non-Hispanic had the highest likelihood of living alone (white: 36.4%; non-hispanic:35.0%).

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Geographic location was also a factor for longevity. In 2010, 85.7% of centenarians lived in an urban area. Most lived in the South (17,444), followed by the Midwest (13,112), Northeast (12,244), and West (10,564). States with the largest total populations generally had the most centenarians. California had the largest number of centenarians (5,921), followed by New York, Florida and Texas. Alaska had the fewest centenarians (40), followed by Wyoming (72), Vermont (133), and Delaware (146).

A slightly more current report will be released in 2013. The Census Bureau plans to release a centenarians report based on the five-year data from the American Community Survey (2007-2011). That report will provide more detailed characteristics about the centenarian population for the nation.

Guinness World Records certifies the oldest living person. That distinction was attained by Besse Cooper, an American woman who died last week at age 116 in a Georgia nursing home shortly after having her hair done. Guinness announced on its website that the new person to certified to be the oldest anywhere on the globe is 115-year-old Dina Manfredini, an immigrant from Pievepelago, Italy. She has lived in Des Moines, Iowa, since 1920 and is just 15 days older than Japan's Jiroemon Kimura.

Reference: US Census Bureau

See also: America's annual health report card now available