Living to 100: America’s Centenarians by the Numbers
Life + Money

Living to 100: America’s Centenarians by the Numbers


Americans are living longer than ever, meaning that the number of people living to age 100 or older has boomed in recent decades. The number of centenarians has grown from around 32,000 in 1980 to 55,000 as of the Census Bureau’s 2007 to 2011 data. That represents a rise of nearly 66 percent over roughly three decades, compared with a 36.3 percent increase for the population overall.

A new U.S. Census Bureau report looking at the social and economic characteristics of the centenarian population can help you picture the typical American over 100. Here is a brief by-the-numbers guide to who our centenarians are and how they’re living:

0.02: Percentage of the U.S. population that qualify as “centenarians”-- 100 years old or older.

81: Percentage who are women

82: Percentage who are widowed

6: Percentage who are married

57: Percentage who have at least a high school diploma

15: Percentage who have at least a Bachelor’s degree

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82.5: Percentage who were white, according to 2010 data.

17: Percentage who live below the poverty line, compared with 9 percent of Americans age 65 and older

33.9: Percentage who lived alone, according to 2010 data. Another 32.3 percent lived in nursing homes and 31.1 percent lived in a household with others

83: Percentage who receive Social Security

$11,933: Mean annual Social Security income for centenarians

24: Percentage who receive retirement income such as a pension, survivor benefits and disability income

$13,408: Mean annual retirement income for centenarians

$51,050: Mean total annual earnings for centenarians, compared with a mean of $37,013 for all Americans 65 and older

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