U.S. Census Bureau Finds Lots Of Centenarians In Northwest

Dec 31, 2012

A special report from the U.S. Census Bureau finds more people than you might expect over 100 years old in the Northwest. Correspondent Tom Banse has the numbers.

Centenarians are still a rare breed, but their ranks are swelling. The most recent Census found more than a thousand centenarians in Washington state, nearly 700 in Oregon and 220 in Idaho.

Ackerman: "Oh, my goodness. People live to be old these days, huh?"

That's 100-year-old Justine Ackerman of Newport, Washington. She told me she credits her longevity in part to clean living.

Ackerman: "I never drank or smoked, or anything like that."

The Census Bureau found a lot of centenarians housed in assisted living settings, as in Ackerman's case. But the agency says about a third of 100 year olds are living alone at home.

One other demographic nugget: the female-to-male ratio gets dramatically skewed in very old age. The population over 100 years old in our country is presently 83 percent female.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio