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Report Number ACSBR/12-18
Brian Kincel
Component ID: #ti588642252

Introduction

This brief provides an overview of the centenarian population living in the United States based on the 2007–2011 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year data. It is a companion to the 2010 Census Special Report Centenarians: 2010, which focused on the count of centenarians, their sex, race, and Hispanic-origin characteristics, and their geographic distribution.1 This brief explores the social and economic characteristics collected annually in the ACS to provide information on the marital status, educational attainment, veteran status, income, and poverty levels of centenarians. Since centenarians represent a rare population, distinct from the rest of the older population in many ways, they are compared to the 65 years and older population.

Centenarians, people 100 years or older, made up a very small portion of the total population in the 2007–2011 ACS, accounting for 55,000 people (0.02 percent). By comparison, the 65 years and over population accounted for 40 million people or 13 percent of the total population. The majority of centenarians were female (81 percent). Women were also the majority of the 65 years and over population (57 percent). This disproportionately female representation in both the 65 years and over and centenarian populations was expected, since sex differences in mortality over time contribute to higher percentages of females than males at older ages.

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1 See the 2010 Census Special Report Centenarians: 2010, at <www.census.gov/library/publications/2012/dec/c2010sr-03.html>.

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