Aging

Courtesy of SeAnne Safaii

At any given time, there are about 450,000 centenarians in the world. Some countries like Italy, Japan and Singapore have more than their fair share. SeAnne Safaii, an associate professor at the University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and dietician Sue Linja set out to find out why. They spent the past year interviewing centenarians in those countries and here in the United States.

A special report from the U.S. Census Bureau finds more people than you might expect over 100 years old in the Northwest.

Centenarians are still a rare breed, but their ranks are swelling. The most recent Census found more than a thousand centenarians in Washington state, nearly 700 in Oregon and 220 in Idaho.

100-year-old Justine Ackerman of Newport, Wash.,  credits her longevity in part to clean living.

"I never drank or smoked, or anything like that," she says.