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Longevity & Gerontology

The word "longevity" is sometimes used as a synonym for "life expectancy" in demography or known as "long life", especially when it concerns someone or something lasting longer than expected (an ancient tree, for example).

  • Reflections on longevity have usually gone beyond acknowledging the brevity of human life and have included thinking about methods to extend life.
  • Longevity has been a topic not only for the scientific community but also for writers of travel, science fiction, and utopian novels.

There are many difficulties in authenticating the longest human life span ever by modern verification standards, owing to inaccurate or incomplete birth statistics. Fiction, legend, and folklore have proposed or claimed life spans in the past or future vastly longer than those verified by modern standards, and longevity narratives and unverified longevity claims frequently speak of their existence in the present.

Present life expectancy

Various factors contribute to an individual's longevity. Significant factors in life expectancy include gender, genetics, access to health care, hygiene, diet and nutrition,exercise, lifestyle, and crime rates. Below is a list of life expectancies in different types of countries:

  • First World: 77–83 years (e.g. Canada: 81.29 years, 2010 est.)
  • Third World: 32–80 years (e.g. Mozambique: 41.37 years, 2010 est.)

Population longevities are increasing as life expectancies around the world grow:

  • Spain: 79.08 years in 2002, 81.07 years in 2010
  • Australia: 80 years in 2002, 81.72 years in 2010
  • Italy: 79.25 years in 2002, 80.33 years in 2010
  • France: 79.05 years in 2002, 81.09 years in 2010
  • Germany: 77.78 years in 2002, 79.41 years in 2010
  • UK: 77.99 years in 2002, 79.92 years in 2010
  • USA: 77.4 years in 2002, 78.24 years in 2010


Longevity and lifestyle

Evidence-based studies indicate that longevity is based on two major factors, genetics and lifestyle choices. 

  • Twin studies have estimated that approximately 20-30% of an individual’s lifespan is related to genetics, the rest is due to individual behaviors and environmental factors which can be modified. 
  • In addition, it found that lifestyle plays almost no factor in health and longevity after the age of 80, and that almost everything in advanced age is due to genetic factors.
The oldest man whose age was mentioned in the Bible was Muphasail who lived 969 years.

supercentenarian (sometimes hyphenated as super-centenarian) is someone who has reached the age of 110 years. This age is achieved by about one in a thousand centenarians.

  • There are estimated to be 300 – 450 living supercentenarians in the world, though only about 80 individual verified living supercentenarians are known. A study conducted in 2010 showed that the countries with most supercentenarians were Italy, France, United Kingdom, Japan, and the United States.
  • The first verified supercentenarians in human history died in the late 19th century. Until the 1980s, the maximal age to be attained by supercentenarians was 114, but this has now been surpassed. To date, there are 7 undisputed cases of people who have lived to 116 years of age or older. The oldest verified person ever is Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122 years 164 days.