The longest unambiguously documented lifespan is that of Jeanne Calment of France (1875–1997), who was aged 122 years. She met Vincent van Gogh when aged 14. This led to her being noticed by the media in 1988, at age 113. Subsequent investigation found that her life was documented in the records of her native city of Arles beyond reasonable question. More evidence for the Calment case has been produced than for any other supercentenarian case, which makes her case a "gold standard" among the "oldest people" recordholders. This is contrasted with the now-disputed claim of age 120 for the oldest man ever, Shigechiyo Izumi. While this case is currently still recognized by Guinness World Records, the Japanese authorities have hinted that his age was not certain. This claim was accepted in 1978, but subsequent additional research (as early as 1984) has raised doubt as to whether his birth date was confused with that of a brother who died at a young age.
Currently (since the death of Yone Minagawa on 13 August, 2007), the oldest living person is 114-year-old Edna Parker of the U.S., born on 20 April, 1893.  Parker, Maria de Jesus and Bertha Fry are the only validated people born in 1893 who are still alive.
Oldest living people
The following is a list of the people who have held the title of oldest recognized person in the world since 1955 (the year Guinness Records began). This list does not reflect the original lists, but is instead "retroactive" – for example, the Betsy Baker case was not verified until the 2000s.
The longest consecutive time with the title of "World's Oldest Person" held was by Shigechiyo Izumi of Japan for 3384 days from November 16, 1976 to February 21, 1986. The shortest consecutive time was by Emma Tillman of the United States for 4 days from January 24, 2007 to January 28, 2007. The average length of time served as "World's Oldest Person" for the 36 people following Betsy Baker (not including the current serving person, Edna Parker) has been approximately 525.5 days. The country with the most people on the list is the United States with 12, followed by the United Kingdom with 9, and Japan with 6.
Oldest living men (since 1961)
Note: Guinness World Records has only maintained the category of 'oldest living man' intermittently over the years, not establishing it permanently until the year 2000. Persons listed prior to 2000 may be based on an historical reconstruction.
The longest consecutive time with the title of "World's Oldest Man" held was by Shigechiyo Izumi of Japan for 4367 days from March 9, 1974 to February 21, 1986. The shortest consecutive time was by Henri Pérignon of France for 8 days from June 10, 1990 to June 18, 1990. The country with the most people on the list is the United States with 9, followed by Japan with 4, and the United Kingdom with 3.
Oldest people ever (115+)
|1||Jeanne Calment||122 years 164 days||21 February 1875||4 August 1997||F||Oldest documented and fully validated supercentenarian ever|
|2||Shigechiyo Izumi||120? years 237 days||29 June 1865?||21 February 1986||M||Oldest male supercentenarian (disputed)|
|3||Sarah Knauss||119 years 97 days||24 September 1880||30 December 1999||F||Oldest in U.S. history, oldest recognized in world 1998–99|
|4||Lucy Hannah||117 years 248 days||16 July 1875||21 March 1993||F||Oldest African American|
|5||Marie-Louise Meilleur||117 years 230 days||29 August 1880||16 April 1998||F||Oldest Canadian, oldest recognized in world 1997 – 98|
|6||María Capovilla||116 years 347 days||14 September 1889||27 August 2006||F||Oldest in Ecuador ever, oldest living person 2004 – 2006|
|7||Tane Ikai||116 years 175 days||18 January 1879||12 July 1995||F||Oldest Japanese woman|
|8||Elizabeth Bolden||116 years 118 days||15 August 1890||11 December 2006||F||Oldest living person at time of her death, Tennesseean|
|9||Carrie White||116? years 88 days||18 November 1874?||14 February 1991||F||Formerly oldest in U.S. history, fourth-oldest American ever recorded (disputed)|
|10||Kamato Hongo||116? years 45 days||16 September 1887?||31 October 2003||F||Third-oldest Japanese person (disputed)|
|11||Maggie Barnes||115 years 319 days||6 March 1882||19 January 1998||F||North Carolina woman|
|12||Christian Mortensen||115 years 252 days||16 August 1882||25 April 1998||M||Oldest undisputed male, Danish immigrant to U.S.|
|13||Charlotte Hughes||115 years 228 days||1 August 1877||17 March 1993||F||British longevity recordholder|
|14||Margaret Skeete||115 years 192 days||27 October 1878||7 May 1994||F||Was oldest living American 1993-1994; Texas state recordholder|
|15||Anitica Butariu||115? years 157 days||17 June 1882?||21 November 1997||F||Romania|
|16||Emiliano Mercado del Toro||115 years 156 days||21 August 1891||24 January 2007||M||oldest person in Puerto Rico ever|
|17||Bettie Wilson||115 years 153 days||13 September 1890||13 February 2006||F||U.S.|
|18||Julie Bertrand||115 years 124 days||16 September 1891||18 January 2007||F||Second-oldest Canadian ever, world's oldest woman for one month until she died|
|19||Susie Gibson||115 years 108 days||31 October 1890||16 February 2006||F||U.S.|
|20||Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper||115 years 62 days||29 June 1890||30 August 2005||F||Netherlands, oldest Dutch person ever|
|21||Maud Farris-Luse||115 years 56 days||21 January 1887||18 March 2002||F||U.S.|
|22||Marie Brémont||115 years 42 days||25 April 1886||6 June 2001||F||France|
|23||Annie Jennings||115 years 8 days||12 November 1884||20 November 1999||F||UK|
Oldest men ever (top 10)
|1||Shigechiyo Izumi||120? years 237 days||29 June 1865?||21 February 1986||Oldest male supercentenarian (disputed)|
|2||Christian Mortensen||115 years 252 days||16 August 1882||25 April 1998||Oldest undisputed male, Danish immigrant to U.S.|
|3||Emiliano Mercado del Toro||115 years 156 days||21 August 1891||24 January 2007||Oldest person in the world December 2006-January 2007|
|4||Mathew Beard||114? years 222 days||9 July 1870?||16 February 1985||Oldest native-born American man|
|5||Yukichi Chuganji||114 years 189 days||23 March 1889||28 September 2003||Second-oldest Japanese man|
|6||Joan Riudavets||114 years 81 days||15 December 1889||5 March 2004||Spanish longevity recordholder|
|7||Fred Hale, Sr.||113 years 354 days||1 December 1890||19 November 2004||Born in Maine, oldest man in the world March-November 2004, died in Jamesville, New York|
|8||Moses Hardy||113? years 335 days||6 January 1893?||7 December 2006||American, lived in Mississippi|
|9||Johnson Parks||113 years 275 days||15 October 1884||17 July 1998||American, lived in Florida|
|10||John McMorran||113 years 250 days||19 June 1889||24 February 2003||American, lived in Florida|
Oldest people currently living (top 10)
Oldest men currently living (top 10)
Supercentenarians who died before 1955
|Thomas Peters||1745||1857||111 years 354 days||M||Template:Flagicon The Netherlands; earliest supercentenarian recognized by the Guinness Book of Records|
|Geert Boomgaard||1788||1899||110 years 135 days||M||Template:Flagicon The Netherlands; earliest supercentenarian recognized by scholars|
|Margaret Neve||1792||1903||110 years 321 days||F||Template:Flagicon Channel Islands, UK|
|Ann Pouder||1807||1917||110 years 93 days||F||Template:Flagicon Born England, UK|
Template:Flagicon Died Nebraska, U.S.
|Louisa Thiers||1814||1926||111 years 138 days||F||Template:Flagicon New York, U.S.|
|Delina Filkins||1815||1928||113 years 214 days||F||Template:Flagicon New York, U.S.|
|Miriam Bannister||1817||1928||111 years 21 days||F||Template:Flagicon Born England, UK|
Template:Flagicon Died Missouri, U.S.
|Demetrius Philipovitch||1818||1928||110 years 144+ days||M||Template:Flagicon Yugoslavia|
|Katherine Plunket||1820||1932||111 years 327 days||F||Template:Flagicon Ireland|
National longevity recordholders
Nation of death (oldest first)
Emigrant records (oldest first)
Note: listed for countries where an emigrant lived longer than any lifelong resident
Gerontology and the verification of age claims
Gerontology involves the tracking of the longest-lived proven individuals as the bio-markers of the human life span. The study of gerontology is usually credited to Michel Eugène Chevreul, a French chemist who died in 1889, aged 102. In the early years of the twenty first century gerontology is benefiting from the improvements in record-keeping in the industrialized world from the latter part of the nineteenth century. As a result, verification standards have evolved and multiple independent documentary confirmations of birth-date are now required to substantiate a claim, rather than evidence deriving only from the claimant. For claims that have not been satisfactorily confirmed by Guinness World Records, considered the authority, see longevity claims.
Current trends in the lifespans of the oldest humans
The population and lifespans of the world's oldest people are continually increasing due to improvements in healthcare and lifestyle during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the increasing world population. Additionally, better record-keeping, both 100+ years ago and today, is increasing the percentage of the world's population whose age can be tracked and verified. This increase has been matched by efforts to harness this data. While in 1837 the oldest verified person was aged 108 years, it is now no longer unheard of for individuals, especially females, to have lived 110 years and more. The term supercentenarian has been coined to describe this emerging population group.
- Louis Epstein: The Oldest Human Beings — list of validly-documented supercentenarians (by age and chronological), including a chronological list of the oldest living listed persons since 1955 (however, for a time in the 1960s the oldest living person did not officially reach 110).
- Supercentenarian tables at the Gerontology Research Group
- International Database on Longevity
- World's Oldest People hosted by Yahoo! Groups
|Wikinews has related news: World's oldest living woman dies at age 115|
de:Ältester Mensch el:Γηραιότερο πρόσωπο στον κόσμο nl:Oudste mens fi:Vanhimmat ihmiset