Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

The number of 100-year-olds is booming in U.S.

BOCA RATON — Not too long ago, Lonny Fried's achievement would have made jaws drop. TV and newspaper reporters would have shown up at her door. She would have been fussed over and would have been given a big party.

But turning 100 isn't such a big deal anymore.

America's population of centenarians — already the largest in the world — has roughly doubled in the past 20 years to about 72,000 and is projected to at least double again by 2020, or perhaps even increase seven-fold, according to the Census Bureau.

Fried will turn 100 on Friday. Her retirement community, Edgewater Pointe Estates, observed her birthday two weeks ahead of time with other residents born in April.

"In the '80s, we'd make a big deal about it by calling Willard Scott on TV to make that huge announcement," Diana Ferguson, who has worked at Edgewater for 25 years, said of the former Today show weatherman known for his on-air birthday wishes to viewers who hit the century mark. "But today we have so many residents turning 100-plus that it's not as big a deal."

Fried doesn't mind at all. Simply making it to 100, she said, is enough.

Born in Germany, she lost her first husband in the Holocaust and was herself held at the Westerbork concentration camp before coming to the United States. She takes no medication, moves around steadily with a walker and said she has been fulfilled by a life in which she found a second love, raised a family and worked as a nurse.

The Census Bureau estimates there were 71,991 centenarians as of Dec. 1, up from 37,306 two decades earlier. While predicting longevity and population growth is difficult, the census' low-end estimate for 2050 is 265,000 centenarians; its highest projection puts the number at 4.2 million.

"They have been the fastest-growing segment of our population in terms of age," said Thomas Perls, director of the New England Centenarian Study at Boston University.

Perls said the rise in 100-year-olds is attributed largely to better medical care and the dramatic drop in childhood-mortality rates since the early 1900s. Centenarians also have good genes on their side, he said, and have made common-sense health decisions, such as not smoking and keeping their weight down.

The number of 100-year-olds is booming in U.S. 04/26/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 11:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. The rise and humiliating fall of Chris Cantwell, Charlottesville's star 'fascist'

    Nation

    The white supremacists, nationalists and far-right trolls who starred in last weekend's violent Charlottesville, Virginia, rallies have suffered no lack of humiliation in the days since.

    White nationalist Chris Cantwell has had quite the week after being featured prominently in an HBO news program on the march in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. [Evelyn Hockstein for The Washington Post]
  2. MLB umpires wear wristbands to protest 'abusive player behavior'

    Ml

    Major League Baseball umpires wore white wristbands during games Saturday, protesting "abusive player behavior" after Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler was fined but not suspended for his recent verbal tirade against ump Angel Hernandez.

    Home plate umpire D.J. Rayburn wears a wristband to protest "abusive player behavior" on umpires by players as Rayburn heads to his position to call the first inning of a baseball game between the Milwaukee Brewers and and the Colorado Rockies late Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Denver. [Associated Press]
  3. Tropical Storm Harvey could regroup but stay clear of Florida

    Weather

    The remnants of former Tropical Storm Harvey could rebound while two other systems brewing in the Atlantic Ocean are unlikely to develop into severe weather.

    The remnants of former Tropical Storm Harvey could rebound while two other systems brewing in the Atlantic Ocean are unlikely to develop, according to the National Hurricane Center. [National Hurricane Center]
  4. Fatal hit and run closes section of Nebraska Avenue

    Accidents

    TAMPA — Police are investigating a fatal hit and run crash early Sunday morning on Nebraska Avenue.