- For supercentenarians known for anything other than their extreme age, see centenarian.
A supercentenarian (sometimes hyphenated as super-centenarian) is someone who has reached the age of 110 years or more, something achieved by only one in a thousand centenarians (based on European data). Furthermore, only 2% of supercentenarians live to be 115.
The term has been around at least since the 1870s (although a competing term, "ultracentenarian," was sometimes also used). Early references tend to mean simply "someone well over 100" but the 110-and-over cutoff is the accepted criterion of demographers.
While claims of extreme age have persisted from the earliest times in history, the earliest supercentenarian accepted by Guinness World Records is Thomas Peters, who was born in Groningen, Netherlands, on 6 April 1745, and died there 26 March 1857 at almost 112 years of age (Guinness once accepted Pierre Joubert, but later dropped him, when it was discovered that he had been confused with his father). However, scholars such as Jean-Marie Robine consider Geert Adriaans Boomgaard of the Netherlands as well (1788-1899) to be the first verifiable case, as the alleged evidence for Peters has been 'lost'. The earliest supercentenarian to reach the age of 113 is Delina Filkins, who was born on 4 May 1815 and died on 4 December 1928 in Herkimer County, New York, U.S.
Nearly 2000 supercentenarians have been documented in history, and this is certainly a fraction of the number who have really lived, but the majority of claims to this age do not have sufficient documentary support to be validated. This is slowly changing as those born after birth registration was standardized in more countries and parts of countries attain supercentenarian age.
The longest lifespan, documented beyond reasonable doubt, is 122 years, 164 days, achieved by Jeanne Calment (1875–1997).
The Guinness Book of World Records accepted in 1978 the claim that Shigechiyo Izumi was born 29 June 1865, and from the 1980 edition considered him the oldest person. He died 21 February 1986 (the 111th birthday of Jeanne Calment). However, subsequent research by some Japanese scholars has cast doubt on his claim, as his birth certificate is believed to refer to that of his older brother who died young and whose name might have been reused as a necronym.
Currently, the oldest verified living supercentenarian is Kane Tanaka.
- Supercentenarian Research Foundation
- International Database on Longevity
- Gerontology Research Group
- World's Oldest People hosted by Yahoo! Groups
- Louis Epstein: The Oldest Human Beings — list of supercentenarians (by age and chronological), including a chronological list of the oldest living listed persons since 1955. (For a time in the 1960s the oldest living person did not reach 110.)