How many nineteenth century people are left?

I have a seemingly simple, yet possibly difficult question. With the recent, and rather frequent, deaths of the world’s oldest living person, I wonder- How many people are still living that were born in the 1800s? If a person was born in 1899, they will be turning 108 in 2007, so that can’t leave very many people, can it? Is there any way to know how many nineteenth century babies are left?
-Laura G., Chicago, IL

None. :smiley:
This PDF file from the US Census Bureau did a study on centenarians in 1990 (published in 1999). I haven’t found anything more recent in a cursory search. However, as of 1990 the Bureau estimated there would be 31,000 centenarians in 1990 who were born between 1885 and 1900. The report also says the number of people living to age 100 will steadily increase for the next 50 years, where it was estimated there would be 72,000 in 2000 up to more than 800,000 by 2050.

There’s probably people alive in the US who remember Cy Young pitching.

can you imagine what it must be like to have seen all the things that have happened in the past 100 years? Just blows my mind…

I don’t have an answer to the questions raised, but I’ll happily pick the nit that they are two different questions - one about those born in the 19th century (1801-1900) and one about those born in the 1800s (1800-1899). The answers will differ.

As of yesterday, the Gerentology Research Group knew of 84 well-documented supercentenarians (people aged 110 and over, so born before 1897.) There’s also this article (subscription-only, alas), which estimates the number of living supercentenarians worldwide at between 300 and 450.

Not quite what you asked, but it’s a start.

My parents were born in 1923. My mother [who is now sliding fast into alzheimers] was born on a small family farm in Diagonal, Ia. It had no power, a well that they had to pump for water using a small windmill and tank system. No indoor plumbing. Plowing was done with a horse team and while they had a model A farm truck, in the winter the roads were such that they used a horse drawn sleigh for transportation. My aunt and grandmother died as a result of a fire resulting from spilled lamp oil from filling the lamps for the house. It took them several weeks to die in pain. The nearest hospital was in Grinnel. No medical insurance existed at that time. They couldn’t afford to take them to the hospital.

She watched the depression, the start of commercial aviation. She worked in an aircraft factory through WW2. She went to university and had one of the first speach therapy degrees. She saw people walk on the moon.

She turns 84 on 2/22.

I’m sure a rounded number will eliminate this extremely anally retentive margin of error.

This only marginally relates to the OP’s main question, but its counterpart may be of value.

My youngest grandchild was born in 1999. At the time she was born I pointed out that all she has to do is live to 101 to have lived in three centuries. As has already been mentioned upthread, the projections for lifespans exceeding 100 keep going up with medical advances. I even recall one bold statement (with perhaps many corollaries) that anybody who lives to the age of 100 (as of some day in the near future) may well “live forever.”

My reaction to that statement is much like the one of being the last soldier killed in X war: wouldn’t it be rotten luck to be the last person to die before that magical date?

My dad’s only 75, and he saw the lights come on after rural electrification. (His little brother immediately stuck his finger in the socket.)


mrAru’s mother grew up in rural missouri and they didnt get electricity until 1948 when she was 6 or 7. Her great aunt gave her mother an electric lamp for a wedding present in 1927 … to be sort of spiteful. She knew there was no electricity in town. She felt that Grandmother was beneath marrying her brother.

I understand that there are a fair number of areas still without actual electricity - someone I know in arizona actually has a generator as it would be too costly to have teh wires run way out to where the cabin is. The government will pay for teh copper, but you have to pay for the poles :eek:

Actually, probably not. The mortality rate among centenarians is about 50%/year, so the number of people born in 1900 and earlier will be about twice that born in 1899 and earlier.

When 2001 arrived, several people born in the late 1890’s were interviewed on the news. They lived in three centuries!

Yep. Born in 1900 you would have been 17(!) during the Russian revolution, 30 or so during the great depression and 45(!) when WWII ended.

I’d like to know how many WWI veterans are still alive.

An insurance expert told me (and they know the actuarial tables better than anyone) that a lot more people are becoming centagenarians but that hardly anyone lives past 114. For some reason that seems to be the ultimate cutoff date. Maybe the better question is, how many people are between 107 and 114 years old.

38 according to Wikipedia:

My ex-wife’s grandfather is 102. He didn’t fight in WWII because he was too old to be drafted!

“I lived in the most exciting time there ever was to live. I rode in horse drawn carriages, and steam trains, I saw the first automobiles in the street in front of our house. I saw a man walking on the moon.”

The quote is from my Grandmother, who was born in 1894, and died in 1994.


Wow. Couple years and they’ll all be gone. Thanks for the info.

Apologies for resurrecting this thread, but I though it was an worth a late-breaking update: Emma Morano, the last person definitively known to have been born in the 1800s, died last week.

Technically, the 19th century ended at the end of 1900, so that means that there are still two living women definitively known to have been born in the 19th century: Violet Brown of Jamaica (b. Mar 10, 1900) and Nabi Tajima of Japan (b. Aug 4, 1900).