Summary

This paper examines the question of how many genuine centenarians there actually are in the United States as compared with those reported in the census. It is concluded that the numbers of centenarians shown in various United States censuses are definite overstatements of the number of true centenarians. It seems likely that instead of the 10,326 centenarians reported in the 1960 census there were at most only about 3,700. Overstatement of ages seems to be particularly the case among those who claim to be aged 110 or over, and it is believed that there probably are no persons who are actually this old.

The analysis has been made by projecting, through the me of population life table survival factors, the populations reported cit carious advanced age groups in one census to the next census and then comparing the results with the corresponding number reported in the latter census for the same age cohort. In general, the enumerated populations at ages below 95 are reasonably close to the projected populations, especially for white persons. On the other hand, at ages 95 and over—especially for centenarians—the enumerated populations significantly exceed the projected ones.

As a subsidiary part of the analysis, the paper points out the significant differences at the older ages between the “full count” age distribution in the 1960 census and the corresponding “inflated 25 per cent sample” one. This is a subject that bears further investigation and explanation.

The paper also discusses centenarians on the social security benefit rolls and concludes that the present data cannot be considered of substantial accuracy with regard to genuine centenarians, particularly the oldest ones. In a number of years, however, this program will provide excellent data, became the individuals involved will have been on the benefit rolls for many years and will have had their ages proved with reasonable accuracy.

Resumen

Este trabajo examina el asunto de cuántos auténticos centenarios (personas que tienen más de 100 años) hay actualmente en los Estados Unidos, en comparación con aquellos informados en el censo. Se concluye que el número de centenarios mostrados en varios de los censos de los Estados Unidos, son afirmaciones definitivamente exageradas del número de los verdaderos centenarios. Parece ser probable que en vez de 10,326 cenienarias informados en el censo de 1960, hubo solamente cerca de 3,700. Afirmaciones exageradas de edades, parece ser particularmente el caso entre aquellos que reclaman estar en la edad de 110 o más, y se cree que probablemente no hay ninguna persona que tenga actualmente esa edad.

El análisis se efectuó proyectando—a través del uso de factores de supervivencia en tablas de vida—la población. reporiada en varios qrupos de edad avanzada en un censo al siguiente y entonces comparando los resultados con el número correspondiente reportado en el último censo para los mismos grupos de edad. En general, poblaciones enumeradas en edades bajo 95 son razonablemente cercanas a las poblaciones proyectadas, especialmente para las personas blancas. Por otro lado, en las edades de más de 95 años—especialmente para centenarios—las poblaciones enumeradas exceden significativamente las proyectadas.

Este trabajo también discute la situación de las personas centenarias en relación a los beneficios de la seguridad social y concluye que los datos actuales no pueden ser considerados eustanciolmente exactos en cuanto a los genuinos centenarios, particularmente los más viejos. En el futuro los datos de las operaciones de eete programa proveerán excelente datos, porque los individuos comprometidos habrán estado beneficiados por muehos años y habrán tenido sus edades comprobadas con precisión razonable.

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References

1
That this same problem exists in other countries may be seen from an analysis of the situation in the 1959 U.S.S.R. census in “Analysis of Mortality in the Soviet Union According to 1958–59 Life Tables,” by Robert J. Myers, Transactions of the Society of Actuaries, Vol. XVI (1964).
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“Methods of Constructing the 1949–51 National, Divisional, and State Life Tables,” Vital Statistics: Special Reports, XLI, No.5 (July 31, {dy1959}) (National Office of Vital Statistics, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare), 158.
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