Predictors of Exceptional Longevity among Older U.S. Adults

Jennifer A. Ailshire, University of Southern California
Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez, University of Southern California

The U.S. population is aging rapidly and there has been significant growth in the population of older adults who live to exceptional old age. However, there is still little research to date on the factors that contribute to exceptional longevity among older U.S. adults. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, we focus on older adults who had the potential to survive to, or live beyond, 90 years of age over 17 years of follow-up in order to determine how exceptional survivors differ from nonsurvivors in their sociodemographic characteristics, health behaviors, and physical health status. We found that older black adults are less likely to survive to age 90, even after adjustment for individual education, health behaviors, and physical health. In addition, older adults who smoke or have a history of smoking were less likely to survive to age 90. Predictors of longevity were largely consistent across cohorts.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 188: Predictors of Survival, Mortality and Longevity