Washington – Nearly 26,000 Americans over 100 years old died in 2014. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Thursday a new report revealing that more people than ever before are living beyond 100 years old in the United States. This means there has been an increase of 40 percent over the last 15 years.

Women represent about 80 percent of deaths in Americans over the age of 100. Particularly in 2014, 40 percent of them were age 111 or even older and that reflects how many women and men live that long, according to lead author Dr. Jiaquan Xu.

The CDC’s new report shows that more people than ever before are living beyond 100 years old in the U.S. Credit: Huffington Post

The latest census results revealed there are 72,000 living centenarians in the country. The main causes of death among people over 100 were heart disease and Alzheimer’s, according to the CDC report. Deaths from Alzheimer disease among centenarians jumped 12 percent since 2000.

From 2000 to 2014, death rates from hypertension also increased 88 percent. On the other hand, death rates for influenza and pneumonia fell by 48 percent, for stroke by 31 percent and by 24 percent for heart disease. Still, heart disease remained the main cause of death among people over 100 in 2014.

In 1980, there were only 15,000 people over 100 living in the US, compared with 50,281 in 2000. But in 2014, they numbered 72,197. The report states that death rates decreased for every single demographic group of centenarians (white, black, Hispanic, female, male) in the six years ending in 2014.

Within that period, death rates for seniors over 100 dropped to 36.5 per 100 women, and by 20 percent to 33.2 per 100 men.

The lowest death rate was achieved by Hispanic centenarians, with 22.3 per 100 people, compared with 39.3 per 100 whites. The death rate for blacks was 28.6 per 100.

Chances of survival to such an elite group have improved thanks to the rise of antibiotics and vaccines, as well as improvement in hygiene and in the technology that has allowed the development of medical treatments. However, there have been some exceptions, including the rise of deaths from opioid overdose in the past few years, a problem that has affected young and middle-aged whites the most.

The 2010 full census showed that the median age for whites was 42, which means that this demographic group is driving the aging in the U.S. In contrast, the median age for Hispanics was 27.

As for baby boomers, they have already begun to enter retirement and are expected to soon bump up the numbers of the elderly to record levels. Experts warn that the nation is not prepared to handle great amounts of seniors, particularly now that the life expectancy of the elderly continues to increase.

Source: New York Times