Living to 100 is in Our Genes

February 2009 will mark the 100th birthday of Ethel Atlas. She is currently the oldest family member in the Atlas Family and she also has surpassed all other family members in terms of the age she has attained.

Previously, many of the records, regarding age in the Atlas Family, were between two lines of the family: John Atlas, Sr. and King Atlas, Jr.'s lines. John Atlas, Sr.'s line had at least 2 direct family members who lived over age 90 while King Atlas, Jr.'s line had/has 4 direct family members who have lived over age 90. The family members that made it closest to 100 years old were ages 97 years, 3 months, 97 years, 2 months and 94 years, 3 months.

The average lifespan for family members is currently just over 55 years. So, in essence, if a family member makes it over 55, they have a good chance of living over 70 and beyond.

According to the US Census Bureau, "Average life expectancy in the United States has increased dramatically over the last century, from just 49 years at the turn of the century to just over 76 years in 1996, the latest year for which such data are available (National Center for Health Statistics, 1997; 1998)." All 7 people, regardless of the line, were born at the turn of the century or just thereafter.

To add, "Centenarians represent a relatively small proportion of the total U.S. population, with about one out of every 10,000 Americans being aged 100 years or older in 1990."

Based on the 1990 Census numbers, here are some interesting facts:
Black Males - Aged 100 to 104 years old = 1,025; Aged 105 and over: 562
Black Females - Aged 100 to 104 years old = 3,183; Aged 105 and over: 1,104
White Males - Aged 100 to 104 years old = 4,616; Aged 105 and over: 1,183
White Females - Aged 100 to 104 years old = 21,265; Aged 105 and over: 3,041

Out of all races (Black, White, Asian and Pacific Islander, Hispanic, American Indian, Eskimo and Aleut), Blacks and Whites have a higher percentage of people who live to be over age 100 years old.

By the year 2010, it's estimated that 72.5 percent of the people aged over 100 years old in the US will be White, and 14.5 percent Black.

The states with the highest percentage of total centenarian population (based on the 1990 Census) are California (10.1 percent), New York (8.4 percent), Florida and Texas (5.6 percent).

Currently, the world's oldest person is now a Black woman from California named Gertrude Baines. She is 114 years old.


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