America is getting older — a lot older. There are more than 60,000 people in this country over the age of 100, with 5,000 centenarians in California alone.
Neenah Ellis for NPR
Researchers expect that Marion Bigelow Higgins, born in 1893, and others her age or older will help science understand why and how human beings are able to grow so old in such relatively good health.
The implications are huge, for policymakers, for families, and for scientific research. In the last decade, major centenarian studies around the world have brought more understanding of how the human body ages and why some people age better than others.
And now a new demographic group has been identified — known as supercentenarians — people 110 years old. It's a much smaller group, but researchers have high hopes for what might be learned by studying its members.
Four years ago on Morning Edition, producer Neenah Ellis talked with centenarians in her series "One Hundred Years of Stories." Now she has been talking to the very oldest of the nation's old.