More Americans Are Living Past 100

Photographed by Winnie Au.
The number of Americans who make it to their 100th birthday has increased since the turn of the century. And by 2008, the death rate for these folks has gone down as well, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Between 2000 and 2014, the number of U.S. adults aged 100 or older increased by a whopping 43.6%. The rate of death among this age group went up before 2008, but then decreased through 2014. So not only are more people living to be 100, they're living past that, and dying at a slower rate.

"It's really a sign of continued increase in life expectancy and longevity and a sign of public health efforts and [developments in] modern medicine," Maria Torroella Carney, MD, chief of geriatric and palliative medicine at Northwell Health, explains to CBS News.

The way the oldest among us die is also changing.

Deaths due to influenza and pneumonia, stroke, and heart disease decreased from 2000 to 2014, although these three still rank among the common causes of death for this age group. The other two, rounding out the top five in 2014, are cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Sadly, deaths due to Alzheimer's have increased by 119% among centenarians.

Good news about mortality rates can be hard to find, but the CDC included one figure that has this writer (and probably Baddie Winkle, too) feeling slightly hopeful: In 2014, an estimated 84% of centenarians were women.
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