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As it turns out, people who live to 100 have certain things in common. It used to be that living to be 100 years old was very rare. You almost never heard of it happening. But, times are changing. In fact, according to experts, more people are projected to join the centenarian club in the next few decades than ever before.

People Who Live to 100 Have Certain Things in Common

Before we get into the things that people who live to 100 have in common, let’s look at general trends. According to the latest projections from the experts at the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans ages 100 and older is expected to more than quadruple over the next three decades. That’s huge. Specifically, the number of people age 100 and older in America is projected to go from an estimated 101,000 in 2024 to roughly 422,000 in 2054. Currently, people who are 100 or older, often called centenarians, consist of just 0.03% of the overall U.S. population. That percentage is expected to increase to 0.1% in 2054. So, it will still be rare, but not nearly as rare. The centenarian trend has actually been going strong for a while. Over the past three decades, the U.S. centenarian population has almost tripled in size.

So, who makes up these folks who are living to be 100 and older? According to Census information, in 2024, 78% of centenarians are women and 22% are men. Their projections have women making up 68% of centenarians in three decades, with men making up 32%. Also, in 2024, according to the Census Bureau, 77% of centenarians are White, while 8% are Black, 7% are Asian, 6% are Hispanic and 1% or fewer are multiracial. In three decades, Census information projects that white adults will comprise 72% of the 100 and older club, Asians will make up 5%, Hispanics will comprise 11% and Blacks will make up 10%.

It’s not just in America, either. According to recent data from the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), 15,120 centenarians were living in England and Wales in 2022, which was a 3.7% increase from 2021. That was also the highest number of centenarians ever counted for the area and an impressive 100% increase from 2002 numbers. By 2030, more 21,000 centenarians are expected to be in the U.K., according to additional research.

So, what are some simple things that people who live to 100 do? Read on for a tally. Genetics is a part of it, but it’s not all of it. It’s a fallacy to think that just because someone has “good genes,” they can live totally rough their whole life and not suffer any consequences. Sure, having good genes is nice, but there are some simple things that people who live to 100 do, so why not give these a try?

  • 1. They Have a Good Immune System

    A new study published in the journal eBioMedicine looked at the DNA and lifestyle of seven centenarians to see what they had in common to live so long. The researchers found that people in the 100+ age group, not surprisingly, had a strong immune system that had allowed them to fight off a lot of illnesses. It helped them stay alive longer.

    Doctor and elderly woman hugging.

    They Have a Good Immune System

  • 2. How to Improve Your Immune System

    If having a good immune system isn’t in your genres, according to the experts at Harvard, you can boost your immune system by eating a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables. Another way is to exercise regularly and have a healthy weight. A few other ways include getting enough sleep, only drinking in moderation, not smoking, staying up to date with immunizations and avoiding stress.

    Green apples.

    Ways to Improve Your Immune System

  • 3. They Have Chronic Illnesses Later in Life

    According to a recent study published in the National Library of Medicine, “The age at which 20% of each of the centenarian groups experienced morbidity was significantly delayed by between 18 and 24 years.” That means these people got chronic illnesses much later than their peers. It helped them live longer.

    Man in a hospital bed with a male nurse.

    They Have Chronic Illnesses Later in Life

  • 4. They Exercise Regularly

    This one shouldn’t be a surprise. According to a National Institutes of Health study, 2.5 hours of moderate activity a week could increase your life by 3.4 years. Studies also show that places around the world with the most centenarians are often in places with rural communities, where they are up and walking around instead of sitting at a desk. So, get out and move.

    Woman outside exercising.

    They Exercise Regularly

  • 5. They Aren't Overweight

    Keeping their weight in check is apparently another commonality with people who make it to 100 years old. In a Harvard-Salk Institute paper about longevity, they note, “At present, calorie restriction remains the most robust [i.e., evidence based] strategy for extending health and lifespan in most biological models tested.” So, eat, but do so mindfully. They also eat healthy, which goes along with longevity.

    In shape woman posing.

    They Aren’t Overweight

  • 6. They Stay Connected

    As they say, people need people. According to a research study via PNAS.org, having real, quality social ties with friends and family has been associated with better health. Also, being socially isolated has been associated with an increased risk of inflammation in people of different ages. So, don’t be such a hermit.

    Elderly people at a table laughing.

    They Stay Connected

  • 7. They Have Faith

    According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, “While there is no definitive scientific evidence linking directly spirituality and longevity some research suggests that spiritual practices and beliefs may have indirect effects on physical and mental health, which could potentially contribute to longer life spans.” So, it’s not a sure thing. But, it appears having beliefs and spirituality is something that many people over 100 share. Pray up, my friend.

    A beautiful church.

    They Have Faith

  • 8. Blood Commonalities

    A recent study published in GeroScience shows that those 100 years of age and older have some similarities in their blood. According to research, they have lower, but not super low, levels of creatinine, glucose and uric acid. Talk to your doctor about ways to get your blood to those levels, and talk to you doctor about any changes you plan to make to your lifestyle and diet, of course.

    Woman taking blood of a patient.

    Blood Commonalities

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