The Oldest Person Alive Today (And the Past 6 Title Holders)

Written by Lev Baker

Updated: October 12, 2023

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For centuries, humans have been fascinated with discovering the oldest living person. We want to know their secrets to live a long and healthy life. Not to mention the sheer awe we feel being in the presence of a supercentenarian (those who reach the age of 110). Today, with the meticulous record-keeping that exists in countries all over the world, we have access to more information about the world’s oldest people than ever before.

This article will explore the current title holder of the oldest living person in the world, as well as the past five people to have held this prestigious title.

The World’s Oldest Person Today: María Branyas Morera

María Branyas Morera is the current oldest living person in the world, as of April 2023. She became the oldest person alive following the death of Lucile Randon in January 2023. Born March 4, 1907 in San Francisco, California, Branyas is an American-Spanish supercentenarian aged 116 years.

She has lived in Residència Santa María del Tura, a nursing home in Olot, Catalunya since 2000. She uses a voice-to-text device to communicate and has a Twitter account — her bio hilariously translates as “I am old, very old, but not an idiot.”

Branyas was born a year after her family moved to the U.S. and lived in Texas and New Orleans, where her father Josep founded Spanish-language magazine “Mercurio.” Her family decided to return to Catalonia in 1915, and while on the voyage she fell from the upper deck while playing and lost the ability to hear in one ear.

She married a doctor named Joan Moret in July 1931. During the Spanish Civil War, she worked as a nurse and was her husband’s assistant until his death in 1976. She had three children and now has 11 grandchildren and and 13 great-grandchildren.

On New Year’s Day 2023, she tweeted some wise words: “Life is not eternal for anyone. At my age, a new year is a gift, a humble celebration, a beautiful journey, a moment of happiness. Let’s enjoy life together.”

The Past Six Title Holders

The following are six of the most recent title holders for the oldest living person in the world. Every person has their own unique story and outlook on life, but all these incredible individuals share one thing in common: they defied the odds and lived long, healthy lives. The key to their longevity is a positive attitude, a healthy diet, and staying active!

1) Lucile Randon (France)

The person who most recently held the title of the oldest person alive was Lucile Randon, a 118-year-old woman from France. She was born on February 11, 1904, and lived in a nursing home in Toulon, France until her death on January 17, 2023 aged 118 years and 340 days old.

She worked as a governess, a teacher, a nun, and a missionary before her retirement aged 75. Blind since the age of 105, Randon was in remarkable health for her age and described as a “positive and cheerful person who loves to laugh.” Until her death, Randon was also the oldest person to have survived Covid-19.

She enjoyed audiobooks, listening to music, and spending time with her family. She was a fan of both chocolate and wine. She loved to indulge in a few squares of dark chocolate each day and enjoyed a glass of wine with her meals. Research backs up the claim that chocolate and wine contain antioxidants that have anti-aging properties, so this may very well have been her secret to a long life.

Lucille Randon as a child

Lucille Randon became the oldest nun to ever live.

2) Kane Tanaka (Japan)

Another prior title holder of the oldest living person in the world was Kane Tanaka, a Japanese woman who lived to be 119 years old. Born on January 2, 1903, she lived in Fukuoka, Japan. She held the title from April 2019 until her death in April 2022.

During her lifetime, Tanaka was described as an independent woman who was “full of life and energy.” She used to do calligraphy, math, and other activities to stay agile until her last days. The Tanaka family attributed her longevity to having a good attitude, staying active, and eating simple meals.

Kane Tanaka

Kane-Tanaka was one of the oldest living women.

3) Chiyo Miyako (Japan)

The previous title holder before Kane Tanaka was Chiyo Miyako, who passed away at the ripe age of 117. Born on May 2, 1901, Chiyo lived in the city of Kanagawa, Japan. She held the title from April 2017 until her death in July 2018.

During her lifetime, Chiyo enjoyed many hobbies and interests, such as playing the traditional Japanese board game Go, writing haiku, and doing calligraphy. In addition, she was a devoted Buddhist and enjoyed spending time with her family.

Chiyo Miyako

Upon the tragic early deaths of her husband and two children, Chiyo Miyako moved in with one of her grandchildren

4) Nabi Tajima (Japan)

Before Miyako, Nabi Tajima held the title of the oldest person alive until her death at the age of 117. Nabi was born on August 4, 1900, and lived in Kikaijima, Japan. She held the title from April 2016 until her death in April 2017.

During her lifetime, Nabi was known for having a good sense of humor and enjoying conversations with people from all walks of life.

Nabi Tajima

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

5) Violet Brown (Jamaica)

Violet Brown held the title of oldest living person before Nabi Tajima. Born on March 10, 1900, Brown lived in Jamaica until her death in September 2017 at the age of 117.

She enjoyed good health until her later years and attributed her long life to eating coconut cake and God’s blessings. She could walk without a cane until the age of 115 and had a strong mind and memory. Her eyesight was still sharp until her death, though her hearing started to fade in her later years to the point of deafness.

Violet Brown

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

6) Emma Martina Luigia Morano (Italy)

The last title holder before Violet Brown was Emma Martina Luigia Morano, an Italian woman born in 1899. Born on November 29, 1899, Emma lived in Italy until her death in April 2017 at the age of 117.

During her long life, Emma enjoyed a variety of hobbies, including cooking, knitting, and singing.

Diet was the key to her longevity: Emma credited her long life to a diet of raw eggs, which she had eaten every day since she was 20 years old. She also used to indulge in a glass of homemade grappa — a type of brandy, every night.

She also credited her single life and “independence” to her long life. Emma had remarkable clarity of mind until the end; she even read newspapers daily and enjoyed discussing current events. She lived in her home independently until her death in 2017.

Emma Morano

During her long life, Emma enjoyed a variety of hobbies, including cooking, knitting, and singing.

Oldest Person to Ever Live

The title of the oldest verified person to ever live goes to Jeanne Calment, a French woman born in 1875 who lived until age 122. Jeanne was born in Arles, France, and worked in her family’s clothing store until age 65. She lived through two world wars and remained independent until the ripe old age of 110.

She attributed her longevity to olive oil, port wine, and chocolate, as well as her habit of always being in good spirits.

Later in her life, Jeanne moved to a nursing home and reportedly died of natural causes in 1997. Her death certificate stated her age at the time of passing as 122 years and 164 days, making her officially the oldest verified person to have ever lived!

Oldest Person on Record

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

Summary of Oldest Person Alive Today (And the Past 6 Title Holders)

Here’s a recap of the oldest person alive and others who have previously held the title:

RankPersonAge ReachedYear of Death
1María Branyas Morera116 yearsAlive (at April 2023)
2Lucile Randon118 years2023
3Kane Tanaka119 years2022
4Chiyo Miyako117 years2018
5Nabi Tajima117 years2017
6Violet Brown117 years2017
7Emma Martina Luigia Morano117 years2017

In Which Nations Do People Live the Longest?

Overall, Asians have the longest life expectancy at an average 83.5 years. Among the top ten nations where people have the longest life expectancy, here are the ratings:

  • Tied for #9 and #10 are Switzerland and the Isle of Guernsey (a British territory) at 82.6 years.
  • #8 is Andorra (the tiny landlocked Iberian country bordered by France and Spain) at 82.9 years.
  • #7 is Hong Kong at 82.5 years.
  • #6 is Iceland at 83.1 years.
  • #5 is San Marino (the tiny country surrounded by Italy) at 83.3 years.
  • #4 is Macau (a region of China) at 84.6 years.
  • #3 is Singapore at 85.2 years.
  • #2 is Japan at 85.3 years.
  • #1 is Monaco at a whopping 89.4 years. The reason that people in Monaco live so long? It is perhaps because of their excellent healthcare system, their Mediterranean diet, and lots of outdoor time.

Americans have a life expectancy of only 76.1 years, and Native Americans/Alaskans have the shortest at 65.2 years. All of these statistics may have been changed dramatically by the COVID epidemic or, as in the United States, by the epidemic and the rise in drug overdoses and suicide.


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About the Author

Lev is a writer at AZ Animals who primarily covers topics on animals, geography, and plants. He has been writing for more than 4 years and loves researching topics and learning new things. His three biggest loves in the world are music, travel, and animals. He has his diving license and loves sea creatures. His favorite animal in the world is the manta ray.

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