Report Finds Dramatic Increase In Number Of American Centenarians

And women still live longer than men.

The number of people living into triple digits is rapidly increasing, a new government report says. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of centenarians, or those living to 100 and beyond, has jumped 44 percent since 2000.

Centenarians in the U.S. numbered over 72,000 as of 2014, up from just over 50,000 in 2000. And it's a trend we can expect to continue as baby boomers age in the next few decades, experts say.

"The trend will continue, for sure, if not much more so," Thomas Perls, head of the New England Centenarian Study at the Boston Medical Center, told The Huffington Post. "With baby boomers, around 70 million, within a narrow age range, when we come around to 2050, we're going to have over 300,000 centenarians in the U.S."

Not only are more people living to 100, those who do are living longer than ever before, the report found. The death rate for centenarians rose from 2000 to 2008, but has been falling ever since.

While the death rate has dropped for both sexes, there are a disproportionate number of women living past 100 compared with men. Women comprise over 80 percent of centenarians in the U.S. "Women very much win the longevity race," Perls said. The current oldest documented person in the world is 116-year-old Susannah Mushatt Jones. 

Heart disease, Alzheimer's, stroke and cancer were among the top causes of death for the cohort. Another interesting finding was the 119 percent increase in Alzheimer's deaths for centenarians since 2000.

Though we can expect to see a rise in the number of centenarians in the coming decades, it's still very rare to live past 110. Perls, creator of aging calculator, says it's akin to "winning the lottery," and that it takes a very special combination of factors to live that long. 

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