For Priscilla Merritt’s first birthday after meeting her fiance, Frank Merritt, he gave her a book of poems, “The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám,” translated by Edward FitzGerald. On the flyleaf Frank wrote, “Verses I love, for one I love.”

Life expectancy is up as people are living longer than ever before, thanks to a number of factors including improvements in health science and technology. However, living to the age of 100 remains a remarkable and somewhat rare feat. Individuals aged 100 or older, referred to as centenarians, make up less than 1 percent of the U.S. population.

What are the odds that you’ll live to age 100?

According to the U.S. Census Special Report on Centenarians, in 2010, there were 53,364 centenarians in the United States or 1.73 per 10,000 people in the total population. The Centenarian Special Report also shed light on a few interesting facts about centenarians alive today:

1) Geography matters

To start with, the United States falls behind other developed countries in terms of the proportion of centenarians to the total population. Japan has the highest number of centenarians, with 3.43 per 10,000 citizens, followed by France, United Kingdom, Sweden, and the United States, with 1.73 per 10,000 citizens.

Moreover, there are regional differences within the United States. Centenarians comprise a higher proportion of the total regional population in the Midwest and Northeast and a lower share in South and the West.

2) Odds dramatically higher for women than men

While life expectancy has risen overall, women continue to live longer than men, a trend that is reinforced in current data on centenarians. Women make up 82.8 percent of individuals age 100 years and older while men make up just 17.2 percent.

3) Odds of living to 100 change over time

Overall, the trend for life expectancy is one of increase. Since 1970, life expectancy in the U.S. has risen by nearly a decade, from 70.8 years to 79 years today. Additionally, in 2011 in the United Kingdom (where life expectancy is 81 years old, roughly two years higher than in United States), the Department for Work and Pensions released a report listing the chances of living to age 100 by year of birth. To see the listing, go to

It’s pretty safe to say that your odds of living to 100 are dramatically better than those of your grandparents, and babies born today have an even better chance of becoming centenarians.

— Source:



Trending Video