The 3 Oldest Women In The World Have These Things In Common

Photo: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images.
Today the world lost its very oldest citizen, Misao Okawa, who celebrated her 117th birthday just a few weeks ago. She passed away surrounded by friends and nursing-home attendants in Osaka, Japan. The daughter of a kimono maker, Okawa was born in 1898 and named the oldest person on Earth by Guinness World Records in 2013.

She passes the title to new oldest woman Gertrude Weaver, an Arkansas resident who will turn 117 on July 4. (America, which will be turning 239 that day, is just a hair more than twice her age.)

Weaver — the daughter of sharecroppers who witnessed the Civil War — told Time that kindness is the secret to her longevity. “Treat people right and be nice to other people the way you want them to be nice to you,” she says. There might be something to that: The next woman in line for the title also cites the Golden Rule as the key to a long life. Jeralean Talley was born in 1899 and spent her young life picking peanuts and cotton on a farm in Georgia. Talley reportedly traveled through her 90s and bowled till she was 104. From the looks of it, staying active might have something to do with making it to triple digits, too.

The now-third oldest person in the world is also an American — and also the daughter of sharecroppers. Born in Alabama in 1899, Susannah Mushatt Jones relocated to NYC in 1923, and still resides in Brooklyn. She will celebrate her 116th birthday this summer, and counts bacon and lingerie among the things that have kept her clock ticking all these years, according to Time. The next in line is Emma Morano of Italy, who will celebrate the big one-one-six this November. 

So, if you want to live well past 100, take it from a few people who know: Be nice to everyone, consume delicious pork products, and move around a lot. And, it won't hurt your odds if you happen to be a woman, too. 

More from Politics


R29 Original Series