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Characteristics of Today’s Centenarians

Regarding longevity, women have the upper hand, according to a recent report on centenarians released by the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the report, there were 53,364 centenarians in the U.S. in 2010 and they were overwhelmingly female. For every 100 centenarian women, there were only 20.7 centenarian men. The report offers an interesting profile of America’s oldest residents, including data on geographic distribution, living arrangements and race.

Geographic Distribution in the United States

According to the 2010 Census data, Americans have the tendency to live in an urban area as they age. In 2010, 85.7 percent of centenarians resided in an urban area. Most lived in the South (17,444), followed by the Midwest (13,112), the Northeast (12,244) and the West (10,564). States that have the largest total populations generally had the most centenarians. California had the largest number (5,921), followed by New York (4,605), Florida (4,090) and Texas (2,917). Alaska had the fewest centenarians (40), followed by Wyoming (72), Vermont (133) and Delaware (146).

Race and Hispanic Origin

The 2010 Census shows that centenarians are less diverse than the total U.S. population. In 2010, 82.5 percent of centenarians were white alone, compared with 72.4 percent white alone in the total U.S. population. Among American centenarians, 5.8 percent were Hispanic while the total population was 16.3 percent Hispanic.

Living Arrangements

Centenarian women were slightly more likely to live in a nursing home (35.2 percent) and centenarian men were more likely to be living with others in a household (43.5 percent).

International Distribution

International statistics show that the United States has a smaller share of centenarians than other countries. The U.S. has 1.73 centenarians per 10,000 people, which is a smaller share than exists in Sweden (1.92 per 10,000), the United Kingdom (1.95 per 10,000), France (2.70 per 10,000) and Japan (3.43 per 10,000). For more data on centenarians based on the 2010 Census, download the U.S. Census report, Centenarians: 2010.