Centenarians are still a rare breed, but their ranks are swelling. The most recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau found more people than you might expect over 100 years old in the Northwest. There are more than 1,000 centenarians in Washington state, nearly 700 in Oregon and 220 in Idaho.
"Oh, my goodness. People live to be old these days, huh?" says 100-year-old Justine Ackerman of Newport, Washington. She says she credits her longevity in part to clean living.
"I never drank or smoked, or anything like that," she says.
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.
According to Census Bureau figures, Alaska is the least hospitable state for centenarians. North Dakota has the highest percentage of centenarians in its population.
On the Web:
Special Report - Centenarians: 2010 (U.S. Census Bureau)