In many religions, this is a day for contemplating the end of life as we know it. Some of us will meet that day of reckoning early and others will live a long time.
A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau examines the demographic data about the approximately 55,000 Americans who are older than 100. Brian Kincel, a statistical analyst in the Census Bureau's Age and Special Populations Branch and the author of this report, says he is particularly interested in this analysis because he has four grandparents in their 80s and 90s who aren't far from being centenarians. "They are all very active, intelligent and important in my life," he says. "I'm hoping they get to 100."
Kincel's research compared the characteristics of people 65 and older with those who had passed the 100-year mark. Here were some of his major conclusions.
- About 81 percent of people older than 100 are women. Among those 65 and older, 57 percent are women.
- Only 57 percent of centenarians graduated from high school while 77 percent of those 65 and older have a diploma.
- Marriage is rare among those 100 and older, with only 3 percent of women and 23 percent of men married. But 41 percent of women and 71 percent of men age 65 and older are wed.
- While 9 percent of people 65 and older live in poverty, far more -- 17 percent -- of centenarians lived below the poverty line.
- Some 83 percent of centenarians receive Social Security, while 88 percent of those 65 and older do.
- Twenty-four percent of centenarians receive some other kind of retirement income, while 38 percent of those 65 and older do.
Living to be more than 100 is expensive and factoring it into your retirement planning can make it harder to create a financial scenario where you are unlikely to ever run out of money. But as Kincel says, "I think I'd just be happy to get there."
For those celebrating, I hope your Easter holiday is joyous.