The Dallas Morning News reports that the number of Americans 100 or older doubles about every 10 years and now stands at 80,000, according to the Census Bureau. Anywhere from 1 million to 3 million of the nation's 76 million baby boomers will celebrate their 100th birthday, analysts predict. Americans live on average to 78, compared with 47 in 1900, thanks to improved sanitation, the discovery of antibiotics and better medical care. Experts predict the trend will continue as researchers make progress against cancer and heart disease.
One in 10 girls and one in 20 boys born today will live to age 100, the paper quotes S. Jay Olshansky, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, as saying.
The Morning News goes on to say that once considered medical curiosities, centenarians are now role models for the millions of baby boomers looking forward to long and healthy retirements. And of course, financial service companies are cashing in. Genworth Financial has featured 10 centenarians - including a pilot, a trumpeter and
a water skier - in its year-old ad campaign promoting its retirement planning products.