Supercentenarian and remarkable age records exhibit patterns indicative of clerical errors and pension fraud





The observation of individuals attaining remarkable ages, and their concentration into geographic sub-regions or ‘blue zones’, has generated considerable scientific interest. Proposed drivers of remarkable longevity include high vegetable intake, strong social connections, and genetic markers. Here, we reveal new predictors of remarkable longevity and ‘supercentenarian’ status. In the United States, supercentenarian status is predicted by the absence of vital registration. The state-specific introduction of birth certificates is associated with a 69-82% fall in the number of supercentenarian records. In Italy, England, and France, which have more uniform vital registration, remarkable longevity is instead predicted by poverty, low per capita incomes, shorter life expectancy, higher crime rates, worse health, higher deprivation, fewer 90+ year olds, and residence in remote, overseas, and colonial territories. In England and France, higher old-age poverty rates alone predict more than half of the regional variation in attaining a remarkable age. Only 18% of ‘exhaustively’ validated supercentenarians have a birth certificate, falling to zero percent in the USA, and supercentenarian birthdates are concentrated on days divisible by five: a pattern indicative of widespread fraud and error. Finally, the designated ‘blue zones’ of Sardinia, Okinawa, and Ikaria corresponded to regions with low incomes, low literacy, high crime rate and short life expectancy relative to their national average. As such, relative poverty and short lifespan constitute unexpected predictors of centenarian and supercentenarian status and support a primary role of fraud and error in generating remarkable human age records.

Author(s): Saul Justin Newman

Publication Date: 14 Mar 2024

Publication Site: bioRXiV