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Centenarians, Lifespan, Healthspan, and the Longevity and Performance Program Goals

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

What percent of people do you think live to be 100 years old? Keep reading to find out. But first, some definitions and the Wonder Medicine Longevity and Performance Program goals.


Lifespan = The total number of years a person is alive

Healthspan = The total number of years a person is alive and healthy

Wonder Medicine Longevity and Performance Program Goals (most to least important):

1. Lifespan = Healthspan

2. Life Fulfillment and Emotional Wellness

3. Extend Life Span

There is no point to living longer unless you are able to use your brain and body to do the things you want to do. As such, the first goal of the Program is for a patients’ healthy years to nearly equal their total years. We call this contraction of morbidity. But in common terms, it is called dying of old age.

People used to die of old age a lot more. Essentially, this means that a person died without crippling chronic disease or limiting physical debility. I think our populations deteriorating health and the rise of metabolic disease from bad diets and sedentary lifestyles is to blame for so few people dying disease free in 2023.

But we do still hear about one group of people dying of old age. These are the centenarians and especially the super centenarians.


Centenarian: a person >= 100 years old

Supercentenarian: a person >= 110 years old

Longevity and the ability to live to 100 years has both a behavioral/lifestyle and genetic component. Luckily, about 80% of Longevity is thought to be behavioral/lifestyle. This means that the way you live your life matters more than your genes. 4x more!

However, genes play a role too. It is thought that for centenarians and especially supercentenarian, genes play a much bigger role than in the general population. You guessed it….centenarians have unfair advantages when it comes to aging and longevity.

But still, some groups of people can live much longer than the 76-year average United States life span. For instance, 7th Day Adventists, known for their healthy and clean lifestyle, live an average of 88 years. This means that our behavior can add at least 12 years to our life! What would 12 good years be worth to you?

I have some bad news though……the average lifespan in the United States has been declining. US lifespan peaked in 2019 at 79 years. In 2020 lifespan started to fall and as of 2021, the average person lives to just 76 years. This is in spite of all the new technological and medical advancements. While COVID19 and drug overdoses are driving some of the average lifespan decline, the rise of chronic disease is also to blame.

But what is killing most centenarians? Honestly, it’s the same stuff that kills most of the rest of us.

Top Centenarian Killers

- Heart disease

- Dementia

- Stroke

- Cancer

- Influenza and Pneumonia

- Old Age

Ok finally, back to the initial question. What percent of people live to see 100 years. Well, it depends on the country, but here in the USA.

In 2021 in the United States there were:

336,997,624 people

89,739 centenarians

This means that only 1 in 3,755 people live to 100 or more (0.027%)

Moreover, for every 32 people age 90-99 there is only 1 person 100+ years. Living to 90+ puts people in an elite category. I ask every patient I have > 90 years what their secret to long life is, as even living to age 90 is a beautiful and rare accomplishment.

Super centenarians (> 110 years) are even more rare. There is only approximately 1 of these individuals for every 2 million people in any given population. So, the world likely has around 4,000 super centenarians alive today (0.00005% of people). Super centenarians are rare birds, even in a world with sanitation, antibiotics, billions of people, and countless products marketed to improve life extension.

The oldest recorded and verified living person ever was Jeanne Calment of France at 122 years,

The oldest currently living person in 2023 is Maria Branyas Morera of Spain at 116 years.

So when I hear people on podcasts and social media talking about how they are going live to 150 years because of some biohacking regimen, supplement, or protocol, I just laugh and think, Jeanne Calment will almost certainly crush you…….Only 10 verified people have even made it to within 5 years of Jeanne, and the closest was more than 2 years younger (still ballin Kane Tanaka of Japan)

Until more breakthroughs happen in the longevity space (and I believe these breakthroughs are coming), I think living to age 90 with a healthspan roughly equal to lifespan is a much more obtainable and actionable goal.

At Wonder Medicine, we target real life extension and health extension using the best available science, lifestyle interventions, the most cutting-edge therapies, and an obsessive focus on disease prevention. No false promises, inflated hype, or baseless claims.

Want the real thing? Then join Wonder Medicine’s Longevity and Performance Program today.

Thanks for reading,

Bill Brandenburg, MD

Founder of Wonder Medicine Longevity and Performance Program

Wonder Medicine’s Longevity and Performance Program improves your lifespan and healthspan with a research-driven proactive program that focuses on the big picture of your health so you can perform at your highest potential.

Calment at age 40 years with 82 years left to live. Wikipedia


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