Living a good healthy long life is the ultimate wish of many. For some people, what they leave behind after they die matters the most because that is the only way your physical existence in the world will be remembered by many generations to come, perhaps for eternity.
In that case, people who live longer also have more chances to do more good things worth remembering.
Thanks to improvements in medical science and access to treatments, life expectancy in developing and developed countries has been steadily increasing.
Life expectancy (at birth) in the range of 75 – 80 years should be good enough for most countries as it somehow demonstrates their ability to take good care of their senior citizens.
Most people don’t live past their eighth or ninth decade, yet the individuals listed below have lived for a century or more.
10Jeanne Louise Calment (February 21, 1875 – August 4, 1997)
The oldest person to have ever lived was Jeanne Louise Calment from Arles, France. On her 120th birthday celebration, Calment said that she expected her future to be a short one.
She was quite right about that. On August 4, 1997, she died two years later at the age of 122 years and 164 days.
Born on February 21, 1875, Calment claimed to have seen Vincent Van Gogh in 1888. Calment lived an active life and was still riding a bicycle in her 100s. She gave up smoking at the age of 117.
9Sarah Knauss (September 24, 1880 – December 30, 1999)
Before Sarah Knauss passed away on December 30, 1999, she had been listed as the world’s oldest living person in the Guinness Book of Records.
According to an official at the nursing home where Knauss spent the final years of her life, she was not ill and died quietly in her room at 119 years and 97 days.
Knauss was born on September 24, 1880. She was already two years old when Brooklyn Bridge opened, in her late 20s when Henry Ford introduced the Model T, and 88 years old when Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon.
8Kane Tanaka (January 2, 1903 – )
At 118 years and two months old, Kane Tanaka is currently the oldest living person globally. Born in early January 1903, her childhood was during the last years of the Meiji period, which ended in 1912.
She is now spending her time at a nursing home in Fukuoka, Japan, where she also celebrated her most recent birthday.
While not as physically active as in her younger days, Tanaka likes to keep her mind occupied by studying math and playing Othello.
7Nabi Tajima (August 4, 1990 – April 21, 2018)
Throughout her long 117 years and 260 days of living, Nabi Tajima had seven sons and two daughters. She reportedly had more than 160 descendants, including great-great-great grandchildren.
She was brought to this world on August 4, 1990, and left it on April 21, 2018, making her the last known person born in the 19th century. According to a town official, Tajima passed away in a hospital in the town of Kikai in southern Japan.
6Marie-Louise Meilleur (August 29, 1880 – April 16, 1998)
It remains unclear if Meilleur ever realized that she was once recognized as the world’s oldest living person by the Guinness Book of World of Records.
During her final years, she was rendered nearly blind and deaf. She had ten children from two marriages; six of them had passed away before she did.
5Violet Brown (March 10, 1900 – September 15, 2017)
She was the last living former subject of Queen Victoria and the first verified super-centenarian from Jamaica.
In honor of her 115th birthday in 2015, she has presented a letter by Queen Elizabeth II. She died from heart arrhythmia and dehydration on September 15, 2017, at 117 years and 189 days.
4Emma Morano (November 1899 – April 15, 2017)
In some cases, longevity is hereditary. Emma Morano said that her long life was partly genetics. Her mother reached 91 years of age, and several sisters lived for more than 100 years each.
Her longevity could be possibly associated with a unique diet of three eggs – two raw – every day for nine decades. She had eight siblings, and she outlived all of them. She passed away on April 15, 2017, at the age of 117 years and 137 days.
3Chiyo Miyako (May 2, 1901 – July 22, 2018)
She was often described as a chatty kind person who loved delicious foods. Her favorites were sushi and eels.
All her life, Miyako enjoyed calligraphy. She started learning the art of writing as a child and continued to practice it until her final years.
At a young age, she could travel to many places, mostly because her husband worked for the Japanese National Railways.
2Misao Okawa (March 5, 1898 – April 1, 2015)
Just weeks after her 117th birthday, Okawa passed away from heart failure on April 1, 2015.
During her final days, she was surrounded by families and even workers at the nursing home where she received treatments. One worker said that Okawa went peacefully as if she had just fallen asleep.
1Lucile Randon (February 11, 1904 – )
She displayed no symptoms but was isolated from other residents of a retirement home in Toulon, France, for safety concerns.
Randon survived COVID-19. At the moment, she is the oldest person in Europe and the entire world to have overcome the disease.
Born on February 11, 1904, Randon is also the oldest living person on the continent and the world’s second behind Kane Tanaka, a year older.