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How Common Are Centenarians?

Centenarians — people who are at least 100 years old — are becoming increasingly common. By 2100, the United Nations estimates that China, the United States, Japan, India and Brazil will each have more than 1 million people who are at least 100 years old. China is estimated to be the first one to break the 1 million person mark, in 2069, followed by the U.S. in 2073. Japan is projected to have 1 million centenarians in 2075, and India and Brazil are expected to reach the mark in 2084 and 2100, respectively.

More facts about centenarians:

  • The increase in centenarians is part of an overall trend of global aging. Throughout history, the elderly comprised only about 3-4 percent of the global population. That percentage more than tripled during the 20th century, and by 2050, about 25 percent of the global population will be composed of the elderly.

  • A person who lives to be 110 years old is called a supercentenarian. As of 2011, there were only 90 confirmed supercentenarians in the world.

  • As of 2011, the person who was documented to have lived the longest before dying was France's Jeanne Calment, who lived to be 122 years, 164 days old. Calment was born in 1875 and died in 1997. The top 10 oldest people at the time of their deaths, as of 2011, were all women.
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