Stratification in health and survival after age 100: evidence from Danish centenarians

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Background: The existence of a super-select group of centenarians that demonstrates increased survivorship has been hypothesized. However, it is unknown if this super-select group possesses similar characteristics apart from extreme longevity. Methods: In this study, we analyse high-quality health and survival data of Danish centenarians born in 1895, 1905 and 1910. We use Latent Class Analysis to identify unobserved health classes and to test whether these super-select lives share similar health characteristics. Results: We find that, even after age 100, a clear and distinct gradient in health exists and that this gradient is remarkably similar across different birth cohorts of centenarians. Based on the level of health, we identify three clusters of centenarians - robust, frail and intermediate - and show that these groups have different survival prospects. The most distinctive characteristic of the robust centenarians is the outperformance in different health dimensions (physical, functional and cognitive). Finally, we show that our health class categorizations are good predictors of the survival prospects of centenarians. Conclusions: There is a clear stratification in health and functioning among those over 100 years of age and these differences are associated with survival beyond age 100.

Original languageEnglish
Article number406
JournalB M C Geriatrics
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1. Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Centenarian
  • Health
  • Heterogeneity
  • Latent class analysis
  • Survival
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Longevity


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