Health and Healthcare Systems

There are now more than half a million people aged 100 or older around the world

Image of Kane Tanaka, the oldest woman in the world

The oldest woman in the world, Kane Tanaka, photographed 3 days after her 117th birthday. Image: REUTERS/KYODO KYODO

Katharina Buchholz
Data Journalist, Statista
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Global Health

  • Life expectancies in developed and developing countries are increasing, with the UN predicting the number of centenarians worldwide will rise to 573,000 this year.
  • The US is home to 97,000 centenarians; the highest absolute number in the world.
  • Japan has the highest rate of centenarians, with 0.06% of the population aged 100 or older.
  • Kane Tanaka, the world's oldest woman, also lives in Japan and is 117 years old.

Living a long life is a common wish of many – and some might just get what they wish for. Life expectancies in developed and developing countries alike have been rising continuously, causing the number of people who live to 100 years to rise also.

This year, the United Nations expect the number of centenarians to rise to approximately 573,000 worldwide.

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The U.S. has the highest absolute number of centenarians in the world with 97,000 living in the country. Japan comes second with 79,000 Japanese who are 100 years or older, according to World Atlas. Japan is also where the world’s oldest person lives. Kane Tanaka from the Fukuoka prefecture is 117 years old, making her a so-called supercentenarian, which is a person living to or beyond the age of 110.

The world's oldest man, Saturnino de la Fuente of Spain, is turning 112 years old on Monday. He also hails from a country with a higher-than-average population of centenarian. In France, Spain and Italy, the share of the population who is over the age of 100 stands at around 0.03 percent - the highest in Europe.

Japan is the country with the highest rate of centenarians, at 6 for every 10,000 people or approximately 0.06 percent. Uruguay, Hong Kong and Puerto Rico are also home to some of the highest levels of centenarians compared to population with rates between 0.06 and 0.045 percent.

A graph showing the increasing number of centenarians from 1950 to 2020
More people than ever before are currently 100 years or older. Image: Statista
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