The 12 Oldest Persons to Ever Live

Written by Sarah Psaradelis
Updated: September 24, 2023
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Living for over a century is not something many people think about and reaching triple digits on your birthday is certainly something to celebrate. While reaching 90 years of age seems old for most of us, the people in this article have lived for over 100 years.

Surprisingly, most of the oldest people in the world seem to be women from Japan, but whether it is due to genetics or some secret they had to have lived for such a long time, these are some of the oldest people in the world.

1.     Jeanne Calment

Birth date: 21 February 1875
Death date:4 August 1997
Age:122 years and 164 days
Residence:France
Gender:Female

Jeanne Calment was the oldest human documented, and she lived for 122 years and 164 days. Jeanne is currently the only person verified to have lived past 120 years of age, which is quite impressive! She outlived both her grandson and daughter and passed away in 1997. Jeanne was born in Arles and her age was verified through personal documents for the city archives, along with documentary evidence.

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Oldest Person on Record

Jeanne Calment was the oldest human documented, and she lived for 122 years and 164 days.

©1,216 × 1,046 pixels, file size: 158 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg – License

2.     Jiroemon Kimura

Birth date:19 April 1897
Death date:12 June 2013
Age:116 years and 54 days
Residence:Japan
Gender:Male

Jiroemon Kimura from Japan is considered the oldest man in history, reaching an age of 116 years and 54 days. He is possibly the oldest living veteran from World War I and he was born in Kinjiro Miyake, as the second surviving son out of eight children. Jiroemon started out as a telegraph boy in his early life and then served with a communications unit in the Imperial Japanese Army. He sadly passed from pneumonia in 2013.

Oldest Japanese Man

He is possibly the oldest living veteran from World War I and was born in Kinjiro Miyake, as the second surviving son out of eight children.

©523 × 577 pixels, file size: 520 KB, MIME type: image/png – License

3.     Christian Mortensen

Birth date:16 August 1882
Death date:25 April 1998
Age:115 years and 252 days
Residence:United States
Gender:Male

Christian Mortensen was considered the longest-living male in the world before Jiroemon Kimura passed him. He lived till 115 years and 252 days of age and was a Danish supercentenarian. He was the son of a tailor in the Skarup village in Denmark and worked as a farmhand. Christian smoked occasionally and followed a vegetarian diet, but he did not drink. Towards the end of his life, he was blind and had a poor memory. Eventually, Christian passed away in 1998.

Christian Mortensen Birth Record

Christian smoked occasionally and followed a vegetarian diet, but he did not drink.

©1,652 × 1,455 pixels, file size: 58 KB, MIME type: image/png – License

4.     Kane Tanaka

Birth date:2 January 1903
Death date:19 April 2022
Age:119 years and 107 days
Residence:Japan
Gender:Female

Kane Tanaka is the second oldest verified person after Jeanne Calment, after living to 119 years and 107 days of age. Kane was from the southern island of Kyushu and her family said that she was born in 1902. Four years before her death, Kane lived in a nursing home in Fukuoka.

Throughout her life, Kane was diagnosed with paratyphoid fever at 35 years of age, and she later had pancreatic cancer at 45 years old. At 103 years old, Kane was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Kane was still in good health at 118 years old, but she died shortly later in 2022.

Kane Tanaka

Kane was from the southern island of Kyushu and her family said that she was born in 1902.

©https://www.reddit.com/r/interestingasfuck/comments/h0tik7/this_woman_who_was_20_in_the_year_1923_is_still//Public Domain – License

5.     Nabi Tajima

Birth date:4 August 1900
Death date:21 April 2018
Age:117 years and 230 days
Residence:Japan
Gender:Female

Nabi Tajima was considered the second oldest person aside from Kane Tanaka, living to 117 years and 230 days. Nabi is originally from Araki in Kikai, and she had a total of 9 children. She became a grandmother to 28 grandchildren and lived to see all 35 of her great-great-grandchildren before she died in 2018 after being in the hospital for four months.

Nabi Tajima

She became a grandmother to 28 grandchildren and lived to see all 35 of her great-great-grandchildren.

©Instagram photo of Nabi in Dec 2017 aged 117. – License

6.     Emiliano Mercado

Birth date:21 August 1891
Death date:24 January 2007
Age:115 years and 156 days
Residence:Puerto Rico
Gender:Male

Emiliano Mercado del Toro born in Cabo Rojo in Puerto Rico was one of the oldest verified people in the world. He was considered the oldest person behind Elizabeth Bolden in 2006. Emiliano worked in cane fields until he turned 81 years old, and he first came to researchers’ attention in 2001. He was able to provide his birth certificate, 1910 census record, veteran ID card, and his baptismal certificate for proof of his age, living to 115 years and 156 years old.

Emiliano Mercado del Toro

Emiliano Mercado del Toro born in Cabo Rojo in

Puerto Rico

was one of the oldest verified people in the world.

©https://gerontology.fandom.com/wiki/User:Arthur_de_Moraes_Silva_Barbosa – License

7.     Mathew Beard

Birth date:9 July 1870
Death date:16 February 1985
Age:114 years and 222 days
Residence:United States
Gender:Males

Mathew Beard was born in 1870 in Norfolk, Virginia and at only 12 years old, Mathew began working at a sawmill. He was also a preacher and tobacco farmer in his lifetime, before passing away in Florida at 114 years and 222 days of age in 1985.

Mathew Beard

He was a preacher and tobacco farmer in his lifetime, before passing away in Florida at 114 years and 222 days of age in 1985.

©https://gerontology.fandom.com/wiki/Mathew_Beard – License

8.     Misao Okawa

Birth date:5 March 1898
Death date:1 April 2015
Age:117 years and 27 days
Residence:Japan
Gender:Female

Misao Okawa was the world’s oldest woman since Koto Okubo’s death, and she was born in 1898 in Tenma, Osaka. She had a total of three children, and two were still alive at the time of her death. Misao lived in a nursing home in Osaka prior to her death, before she died from heart failure in 2015 at 117 and 27 days old.

Misao Okawa

Misao Okawa was the world’s oldest woman since Koto Okubo’s death, and she was born in 1898 in Tenma, Osaka.

©https://gerontology.fandom.com/wiki/Misao_Okawa – License

9.     Walter Breuning

Birth date:21 September 1896
Death date:14 April 2011
Age:114 years and 205 days
Residence:United States
Gender:Male

Walter Breuning was born in Minnesota in 1896. In his early life, Walter lived to what he could describe as the “dark ages,” as he and his family lived without water, plumbing, or even electricity. He worked scaping bakery pans before he joined the Northern Railway where he worked for 50 years. Walter did sign up for the military, however, he was first rejected, and by the time the second world war came about, Walter was too old to serve. He died in 2011 at 114 years and 205 days of age.

portrait of Walter Breuning once the world's oldest living man. He siseateid in a red upholstered chair . He is wearing a brome jacket with a light colored shirt and a brown tie. A bookshelf filled with colorful books is seen behind him. YJe chair's back is to a window/\.

In his early life, Walter lived to what he could describe as the “dark ages”, as he and his family lived without water, plumbing, or electricity.

©https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Walter_Breuning_April_8,_2010.jpg – License

10. Sarah Knauss

Birth date:24 September 1880
Death date:30 December 1999
Age:119 years and 9 days
Residence:United States
Gender:Female

Sarah Knauss is the oldest person recorded in the United States. She lived to 119 and 9 days of age while being the third oldest person in the world. Her age could be validated through the census and other important documents. Sarah was born in Pennsylvania and lived as a housewife before passing in 1999.

Sarah Knauss

Sarah Knauss

is the oldest person recorded in the United States.

©Sconosciuto/Public Domain – License

11. Violet Brown

Birth date:10 March 1900
Death date:15 September 2017
Age:117 years and 189 days
Residence:Jamaica
Gender:Female

Violet Brown was the oldest living person before Emma Morano, and she and Nabi Tajima, who we mentioned earlier in the article, were the only two people still alive in the 20th century after being born in the 19th century. She was even gifted a birthday card from the Queen of Jamaica before she passed 2 years later in 2017 at 117 years and 189 days of age.

Violet Brown

Violet was gifted a birthday card from the Queen of Jamaica before she passed 2 years later in 2017.

©https://gerontology.fandom.com/wiki/Violet_Brown – License

12. Yukichi Chuganji

Birth date:23 March 1889
Death date:28 September 2003
Age:114 years and 189 days
Residence:Japan
Gender:Male

Yukichi Chuganji was 114 years and 189 days of age before his death in 2003. He was born in Fukuoka in 1889 and worked many jobs, such as being a silkworm breeder, community welfare officer, and even a bank employee. Yukichi didn’t favor eating vegetables, and he enjoyed portions of beef and chicken. He died from natural causes and took the record of being one of the oldest men in the world.

Yukichi Chuganji

Yukichi Chuganji died from natural causes and took the record of being one of the oldest men in the world.

©https://gerontology.fandom.com/wiki/Yukichi_Chuganji – License

Bonus: More Supercenturians Who Lived the Longest

Stats on the oldest living supercentenarians will change as time goes on and longevity in humans continues to increase. Below, we’ve added a couple of women to the list, one of which broke another notable record.

Lucille Randon (Sister André)

Lucille Randon of Toulon, France passed just this year (2023) at the age of 118 years 340 days, propelling her to be the fourth-oldest verified person to have ever lived. She broke another record as the oldest confirmed survivor of the COVID-19 pandemic. A month before her 117th birthday, she tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, yet went on to live almost two more years. After converting to Roman Catholicism in her young adult years, Lucille held various jobs throughout her career including teacher, governess, nun, and missionary. She retired in 1979 at the age of 75 and spent her later years in a nursing home from 2009 on.

Birth Date:11 February 1904
Death Date:17 January 2023
Age:118 years, 340 days
Residence:France
Gender:Female

Lucile Randon of Toulon, France passed in 2023, making her the new “4th oldest person” to ever live.

©VUOP / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

Emma Martina Luigia Morano

Birth Date:29 November 1899
Death Date:15 April 2017
Age:117 years and 137 days
Residence:Italy
Gender:Female

At the time of her death in 2017, Emma Morano of Italy was the last living person who had been born in the 1800s. Besides being the oldest Italian to have ever lived, she’s the 3rd oldest European ever. She was awarded the honor of Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in December 2011 by the President at the time, Giorgio Napolitano. She believed that she lived so long because she consumed three eggs per day, sometimes drank grappa made at home, and indulged in chocolate on occasion. More importantly, she said thinking positively about the future, coupled with being single, contributed to her long life.

©Unknown author / Public Domain – License

Conclusion

Living to over 100 years of age is celebrate-worthy, and it is a huge milestone for many. So far, Jeanne Clament is the oldest verified human to have ever lived, at 122 years and 164 days of age.

Summary of the 12 Oldest Persons to Ever Live

Here’s a recap of the oldest people ever recorded and their ages at the time of their deaths:

RankNameAge
1Jeanne Calment122 years and 164 days
2Kane Tanaka119 years and 107 days
3Sarah Knauss119 years and 9 days
4Nabi Tajima117 years and 230 days
5Violet Brown117 years and 189 days
6Misao Okawa117 years and 27 days
7Jiroemon Kimura116 years and 54 days
8Christian Mortensen115 years and 252 days
9Emiliano Mercado115 years and 156 days
10Mathew Beard114 years and 222 days
11Walter Breuning114 years and 205 days
12Yukichi Chuganji114 years and 189 days

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Magomed Magomedagaev/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Sarah is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering aquatic pets, rodents, arachnids, and reptiles. Sarah has over 3 years of experience in writing and researching various animal topics. She is currently working towards furthering her studies in the animal field. A resident of South Africa, Sarah enjoys writing alongside her pets and almost always has her rats perched on her shoulders.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Who is the oldest documented human?

Jeanne Calment was the oldest human documented, and she lived for 122 years and 164 days.

Who is the oldest documented man?

Jiroemon Kimura from Japan is considered the oldest man in history, reaching an age of 116 years and 54 days.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. Wikipedia , Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_verified_oldest_people