The human longevity record may hold for decades: Jeanne Calment’s extraordinary record is not evidence for an upper limit to human lifespan
In: Maier, H.
, Jeune, B., Vaupel, J. W. (Eds.): Exceptional lifespans
Demographic research monographs -
Cham, Springer (2021)
Since 1990 Jeanne Louise Calment has held the record for human longevity. She was born on 21 February 1875, became the longest-lived human on 12 May 1990 when she was 115.21 and died on 4 August 1997 at age 122.45 years. In this chapter, we use data available on 25 September 2017 on people who reached age 110, supercentenarians, to address the following questions:
1. How likely is it that a person has reached age 122.45?
2. How unlikely is it that Calment’s record has not yet been broken?
3. How soon might it be broken?
Assuming a constant annual probability of death of 50% after age 110, we found that the probability that a person who survived to age 110 would have lived to 122.45 by 25 September 2017 is 17.1%. Furthermore, we calculated that there was only a 20.3% chance that Calment’s record would have been broken after 1997 but before 2017. Finally, we estimated that there is less than a 50% chance that someone will surpass Calment’s lifespan before 2045. Jeanne Louise Calment’s record is exceptional but not impossible. It does not provide evidence that her lifespan is an upper limit to human lifespans.