Who Are the Centenarians? Part 2: Dying at Age 100+ vs. Dying at Ages 65-99

Blog post by Kit Frohardt-Lane, Data Driven Detroit
January 2017

Data Driven Detroit (D3)   (Detroit)

Centenarians, defined as people age 100 or older, are a tiny but growing age group in Michigan and the United States as a whole. In the first part of this two-part blog series, we looked at this group not by studying living centenarians but by studying the characteristics of Michigan residents aged 100 or older who died from 2011-2013. In this second part we contrast centenarians’ characteristics with those of Michigan residents who died in 2011-2013 at ages 65-69, 70-79, 80-89, and 90-99.

Comparing centenarian deaths to deaths in the younger age groups we found:

  • Female deaths outnumbered male deaths starting with the 80-89 age group (55% to 45%), reaching a peak of 84% to 16% among centenarians
  • While two-thirds of 65-69 year-old decedents were married (50%) or widowed (17%), just 7% of centenarians were married and 86% were widowed at their death.
  • The percentage of decedents stopping their education at 8th grade or less increased with advancing age groups from 5% of 65-69 year-olds to 19% among those in their 90s and 28% of centenarians.
  • The underlying cause of death as recorded on the death certificate increased in frequency for diseases of the circulatory system with advancing age while neoplasms decreased in frequency.