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Encyclopedia > Centenarians

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A centenarian is a person who has attained the age of 100 years or more. The term is associated with longevity due to the fact that average life expectancies across the world are still far from 100. Much rarer, a supercentenarian is a person who has lived to the age of 110 or more.

Reaching an old age has fascinated people for ages. According to the Bible, Methuselah lived to be 969 years old (Genesis 5:27). Today some maintain that the unusually high longevity of Biblical patriarchs are the result of an error in translation: lunar cycles were mistaken for the solar ones, and the actual ages are 13.5 times less. This gives 72 years for Methuselah, which is still an impressive number, bearing in mind the life expectancy of these times. This theory however, seems doubtful to others since patriarchs such as Mahalalel (ibid 5:15) and Enoch (ibid 5:21) were said to have become fathers after 65 "years." If the lunar cycle theory were accepted this would translate to an age of about 4 years and 10 months.

Some of the (nonapocryphal) claimants to longevity records are (see also: "Known for attaining high age" below):

In the United States, centenarians traditionally receive a letter from the president upon reaching their 100th birthday, congratulating them for their longevity. Willard Scott of NBC's Today show has also named them on air since 1983. In the United Kingdom, the Queen sends greetings (formerly as a telegram) on the 100th birthday and on every birthday starting with the 105th.

Among Hindus, people who touch the feet of elders are often blessed with "May you live a hundred years". In Poland, Sto lat, a wish to live a hundred years, is a traditional form of praise and good wishes; the Jewish tradition, however, is more ambitious, "May you live as long as Moses", or 120 years. Chinese emperors were hailed to live ten thousand years.


List of centenarians

Here is a list of well-known centenarians (with supercentenarians emphasized strongly). This list is divided into sub-lists, according to how the centenarian became well known.

Activists/non-profit leaders





Educators/school administrators


Jurists/practitioners of law

Military commanders

Musicians/Composers/music patrons


  • Dominick Geoffrey Edward Browne, 4th Baron Oranmore and Browne (1901-2002)
  • Ethel Sydney Keith, Countess of Kintore (1874-1974)
  • Frank Douglas-Pennant, 5th Baron Penrhyn (1865-1967)
  • Judith, Countess of Listowel (1903-2003)
  • Jean Pierre Francois Joseph Pineton, Marquis de Chambrun (1903-2004)
  • Cora, Countess of Clancarty (1892-1993)
  • Countess Elsa Bernadotte (1893-1996)


Politicians/government servants

Relative of someone well-known

Religious leaders/Clergymen





Known for attaining high age

See also

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Centenarian - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1114 words)
A centenarian is a person who has attained the age of 100 years or more.
Japanese centenarians receive a silver cup and a certificate from the Prime Minister of Japan upon their 100th birthday, honouring them for their longevity and prosperity in their lives.
Centenarians born in Ireland receive a €2,500 "Centenarians' Bounty" and a letter from the President of Ireland, even if they are resident abroad.
The Okinawa Centenarian Study: health, diet & aging research (355 words)
Centenarians, in particular, have a history of aging slowly and delaying or sometimes escaping the chronic diseases of aging including dementia, cardiovascular disease (coronary heart disease and stroke) and cancer.
The goal of the Okinawa Centenarian Study is to uncover the genetic and lifestyle factors responsible for this remarkable successful aging phenomenon for the betterment of the health and lives of all people.
The Okinawa Centenarian Study (OCS) is a population-based study of hundred-year-olds (centenarians) and other elderly in Okinawa, Japan.
  More results at FactBites »



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