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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.[1] 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.[2]


There are estimated to be 200–350 living supercentenarians in the world, though only about 70 individual verified cases (living supercentenarians) are known.[3] 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,[4] Japan, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy.[5]

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.[citation needed]


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.[2] 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.[2]


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.[citation needed]

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 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:

The largest number of verified living people aged 116 or over at the same time is three; this has also happened once:

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.[citation needed] 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[edit]

      Deceased       Living

RankNameGenderBirth dateDeath dateAge
(as of 15 April 2014)
1Jeanne CalmentF21 February 18754 August 1997122 years, 164 daysFrance
2Sarah KnaussF24 September 188030 December 1999119 years, 97 daysUnited States
3Lucy HannahF16 July 187521 March 1993117 years, 248 daysUnited States
4Marie-Louise MeilleurF29 August 188016 April 1998117 years, 230 daysCanada
5María CapovillaF14 September 188927 August 2006116 years, 347 daysEcuador
6Tane IkaiF18 January 187912 July 1995116 years, 175 daysJapan
7Elizabeth BoldenF15 August 189011 December 2006116 years, 118 daysUnited States
8Besse CooperF26 August 18964 December 2012116 years, 100 daysUnited States
9Jiroemon KimuraM19 April 189712 June 2013116 years, 54 daysJapan
10Misao OkawaF5 March 1898Living116 years, 41 daysLiving in Japan
11Maggie BarnesF6 March 188219 January 1998115 years, 319 daysUnited States
12Dina ManfrediniF4 April 189717 December 2012115 years, 257 daysborn Italy
died in United States
13Christian MortensenM16 August 188225 April 1998115 years, 252 daysborn Denmark
died in United States
14Charlotte HughesF1 August 187717 March 1993115 years, 228 daysUnited Kingdom
15Edna ParkerF20 April 189326 November 2008115 years, 220 daysUnited States
16Mary Ann RhodesF12 August 18823 March 1998115 years, 203 daysCanada
17Margaret SkeeteF27 October 18787 May 1994115 years, 192 daysUnited States
18Gertrude BainesF6 April 189411 September 2009115 years, 158 daysUnited States
19Emiliano Mercado del ToroM21 August 189124 January 2007115 years, 156 daysPuerto Rico
20Bettie WilsonF13 September 189013 February 2006115 years, 153 daysUnited States
21Julie Winnefred BertrandF16 September 189118 January 2007115 years, 124 daysCanada
22Maria de JesusF10 September 18932 January 2009115 years, 114 daysPortugal
23Susie GibsonF31 October 189016 February 2006115 years, 108 daysUnited States
24Augusta HoltzF3 August 187121 October 1986115 years, 79 daysborn Germany
died in United States
25Hendrikje van Andel-SchipperF29 June 189030 August 2005115 years, 62 daysNetherlands
26Maude Farris-LuseF21 January 188718 March 2002115 years, 56 daysUnited States
27Marie BrémontF25 April 18866 June 2001115 years, 42 daysFrance
28Koto OkuboF24 December 189712 January 2013115 years, 19 daysJapan
29Chiyono HasegawaF20 November 18962 December 2011115 years, 12 daysJapan
30Annie JenningsF12 November 188420 November 1999115 years, 8 daysUnited Kingdom


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ a b c 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. 
  3. ^ Validated living supercentenarians
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ The 2010 study of countries with most supercentenarians

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