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A supercentenarian (sometimes hyphenated as super-centenarian) is someone who has lived to or passed his/her 110th birthday. This age is achieved by about one in 1,000 centenarians. Anderson et al. concluded that supercentenarians live a life typically free of major age-related diseases until shortly before maximum human lifespan is reached between 110 and 115 years.
There are estimated to be 200–350 living supercentenarians in the world, though only about 70 individual verified cases (living supercentenarians) are known. A study conducted in 2010 showed that the countries with the most known supercentenarians (living and dead, in order of total) were the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy.
The first verified supercentenarians in human history died in the late 19th century. Until the 1980s, the oldest age attained by supercentenarians was 115, but this has now been surpassed. To date there are 30 verified cases of people who have lived to the age of 115 or more. Of these cases, ten individuals are known to have reached 116 years of age (or older).
The term "supercentenarian" has been in existence since at least the 1970s (Norris McWhirter, editor of Guinness World Records, used the word in correspondence with age claims researcher A. Ross Eckler, Jr. in 1976), and was further popularised in 1991 by William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book entitled Generations. Early references tend to mean simply "someone well over 100", but the 110-and-over cutoff is the accepted criterion of demographers. In the 19th century, the term "ultracentenarian" was used to describe someone well over 100, the cutoff being age 110.
Research on the morbidity of supercentenarians has found that they remain free of major age-related diseases (e.g., stroke, cardiovascular disease, dementia, cancer, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes) until the very end of life when they die of exhaustion of organ reserve, which is the ability to return organ function to homeostasis. About 10% of supercentenarians survive until the last 3 months of life without major age-related diseases as compared to only 4% of semisupercentenarians (age range 105–109 years) and 3% of centenarians.
While claims of extreme age have persisted from the earliest times in history, the earliest supercentenarian accepted by Guinness World Records is Dutchman Thomas Peters (reportedly 1745–1857). Scholars such as French demographer Jean-Marie Robine, however, consider Geert Adriaans Boomgaard, also of the Netherlands, who turned 110 in 1898, to be the first verifiable case, as the alleged evidence for Peters has apparently been lost. The evidence for the 112 years of Englishman William Hiseland (reportedly 1620–1733) does not meet the standards required by Guinness World Records. Norwegian Church records, the accuracy of which is subject to dispute, also show what appear to be several supercentenarians who lived in the south-central part of present-day Norway during the 16th and 17th centuries, including Johannes Torpe (1549–1664), and Knud Erlandson Etun (1659–1770), both residents of Valdres, Oppland, Norway.
In 1902, Margaret Ann Neve became the first verified female supercentenarian. Born in 1792, she is one of few known persons who lived in the 20th century who was born in the 18th century.
If the case of Peters is discounted, then the first fully documented 111th birthdays were celebrated in New York State in 1926, first by Louisa Thiers, and then Delina Filkins of Herkimer County. Filkins later became the first person to reach 112, as well as 113. In 1959, the Guinness World Records accepted the claim of Martha Graham as the first ever 114-year-old. The Social Security Administration recognizes Mathew Beard as having attained the same age in 1984, but the only fully validated case is that of Augusta Holtz, who was born 3 August 1871 and turned 114 in 1985. Holtz was also the first verified human to live to 115 years of age.
Carrie C. White had been recognized by Guinness World Records to have reached the age of 116. Because the claim is insecure,[clarification needed] scholars believe it is possible that this milestone may have been first achieved by Jeanne Calment. Calment was also the first verified person to reach the ages of 117 to 122. She died aged 122 years, 164 days – the longest human lifespan documented. The next oldest person whose age is documented beyond reasonable doubt was Sarah Knauss, who died in 1999 at the age of 119 years, 97 days. The oldest verified man[update] ever recorded is Jiroemon Kimura of Japan, who died in 2013 aged 116 years and 54 days.
The largest number of verified living people aged 115 or over at the same time is five; this has happened once:
- From 16 August 1997 to 21 November 1997 Marie-Louise Meilleur, Sarah Knauss, Maggie Barnes, Mary Ann Rhodes and Christian Mortensen were all living at the age of 115 or more.
The largest number of verified living people aged 116 or over at the same time is three; this has also happened once:
- From 24 September 1996 to 4 August 1997 Jeanne Calment, Marie-Louise Meilleur and Sarah Knauss were all living at the age of 116 or more.
The longest period of time where there have been no known living supercentenarians in the world (since the first verifiable case in the late 19th century) occurred between 14 October 1932, when Katherine Plunket died, and 20 August 1952, when Betsy Baker turned 110 – a period of nearly 20 years.
The first known supercentenarian who lived in three different centuries was the first ever verified female supercentenarian, Margaret Ann Neve (1792–1903). Neve was the only supercentenarian born in the 18th century who is known to have lived into the 20th century. This is contrasted with the hundreds of verified supercentenarians who have lived from the 19th century into the 21st century.
Over 1,500 supercentenarians have been documented in history. It is likely that more have lived, but the majority of claims to have lived to this age do not have sufficient documentary support to be validated. This is slowly changing as those born after birth registration was standardized in more countries and parts of countries attain supercentenarian age.
Verified supercentenarians over 115 years old
|Rank||Name||Gender||Birth date||Death date||Age
(as of 24 April 2014)
|1||Jeanne Calment||F||21 February 1875||4 August 1997||122 years, 164 days||France|
|2||Sarah Knauss||F||24 September 1880||30 December 1999||119 years, 97 days||United States|
|3||Lucy Hannah||F||16 July 1875||21 March 1993||117 years, 248 days||United States|
|4||Marie-Louise Meilleur||F||29 August 1880||16 April 1998||117 years, 230 days||Canada|
|5||María Capovilla||F||14 September 1889||27 August 2006||116 years, 347 days||Ecuador|
|6||Tane Ikai||F||18 January 1879||12 July 1995||116 years, 175 days||Japan|
|7||Elizabeth Bolden||F||15 August 1890||11 December 2006||116 years, 118 days||United States|
|8||Besse Cooper||F||26 August 1896||4 December 2012||116 years, 100 days||United States|
|9||Jiroemon Kimura||M||19 April 1897||12 June 2013||116 years, 54 days||Japan|
|10||Misao Okawa||F||5 March 1898||Living||116 years, 50 days||Living in Japan|
|11||Maggie Barnes||F||6 March 1882||19 January 1998||115 years, 319 days||United States|
|12||Dina Manfredini||F||4 April 1897||17 December 2012||115 years, 257 days||born Italy
died in United States
|13||Christian Mortensen||M||16 August 1882||25 April 1998||115 years, 252 days||born Denmark
died in United States
|14||Charlotte Hughes||F||1 August 1877||17 March 1993||115 years, 228 days||United Kingdom|
|15||Edna Parker||F||20 April 1893||26 November 2008||115 years, 220 days||United States|
|16||Mary Ann Rhodes||F||12 August 1882||3 March 1998||115 years, 203 days||Canada|
|17||Margaret Skeete||F||27 October 1878||7 May 1994||115 years, 192 days||United States|
|18||Gertrude Baines||F||6 April 1894||11 September 2009||115 years, 158 days||United States|
|19||Emiliano Mercado del Toro||M||21 August 1891||24 January 2007||115 years, 156 days||Puerto Rico|
|20||Bettie Wilson||F||13 September 1890||13 February 2006||115 years, 153 days||United States|
|21||Julie Winnefred Bertrand||F||16 September 1891||18 January 2007||115 years, 124 days||Canada|
|22||Maria de Jesus||F||10 September 1893||2 January 2009||115 years, 114 days||Portugal|
|23||Susie Gibson||F||31 October 1890||16 February 2006||115 years, 108 days||United States|
|24||Augusta Holtz||F||3 August 1871||21 October 1986||115 years, 79 days||born Germany
died in United States
|25||Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper||F||29 June 1890||30 August 2005||115 years, 62 days||Netherlands|
|26||Maude Farris-Luse||F||21 January 1887||18 March 2002||115 years, 56 days||United States|
|27||Marie Brémont||F||25 April 1886||6 June 2001||115 years, 42 days||France|
|28||Koto Okubo||F||24 December 1897||12 January 2013||115 years, 19 days||Japan|
|29||Chiyono Hasegawa||F||20 November 1896||2 December 2011||115 years, 12 days||Japan|
|30||Annie Jennings||F||12 November 1884||20 November 1999||115 years, 8 days||United Kingdom|
- Maier, H., Gampe, J., Jeune, B., Robine, J.-M., Vaupel, J. W. (Eds.) (2010). Supercentenarians. Germany: Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. p. 325. ISBN 978-3-642-11519-6.
- Anderson, Stacy L.; Paola Sebastiani, Daniel A. Dworkis, Lori Feldman, and Thomas T. Perls (2012). "Health Span Approximates Life Span Among Many Supercentenarians: Compression of Morbidity at the Approximate Limit of Life Span". The Journals of Gerontology: Series A 67A: 395–405. doi:10.1093/gerona/glr223. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- Validated living supercentenarians
- Rosenwaike, Ira; Leslie F. Stone (2003). "Verification of the Ages of Supercentenarians in the United States: Results of a Matching Study". Demography 40 (4): 727–739. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- The 2010 study of countries with most supercentenarians
- Gerontology Research Group
- International Database on Longevity
- Supercentenarian Research Foundation
- New England Supercentenarian Study