A centenarian is a person who has lived more than 100
years. Only one in every thousand centenarians will
has lived to 110 years or more. Only one in 50,000
centenarians will reach the age of 115 or more. The
oldest person in history was Jeanne Calment from
France, who lived to 122 years and 164 days.
Many people associate the Japanese people with
longevity, especially when compared to people living in
the United States.
While Japan is the country with the second most number of centenarians (40,000), they
do not have as many as the United States (70,490). However, this is only because the
U.S. is a much larger country. When taking into account population size, Japan actually
has a higher percentage (0.000315%) of centenarians compared to the United States
(0.000225%). However, there is some dispute over the reliability of Japanese
centenarian statistics. In the United States, centenarians receive a congratulatory letter
from the President when turning 100. Many other countries, such as England, Italy,
Ireland, Japan, and Sweden have similar traditions. Based on reviews of scholarly
writings, it appears that there were centenarians who lived during the B.C. years,
although it was quite rare. Centenarian comes from the Latin word "centanrius" meaning
"relating to a hundred."