THE WORLDPOST
06/11/2014 09:15 am ET Updated Jun 24, 2014

What The World's Oldest Citizens Tell Us About Their Past And Long Life In Their Countries

On Sunday, the world's oldest man, Alexander Imich, passed away in New York at the age of 111. Imich, who had immigrated to the United States in 1951 after having fled from Eastern Europe during the Holocaust, died in a senior residence in Manhattan.

Imlich had been certified as the oldest man in April of this year, joining a group of individuals from around the world that had similarly received acclaim for their impressive lifespans. As these folks show, life might not be so short after all. Therefore, take a moment to appreciate what lessons they have learned throughout their lifetime and discover what it is like to live a long life in their countries.

  • Alexander Imich, Age 111
    Michael Mannion/AP
    Alexander Imich attributed the long length of his life to good genes and a healthy lifestyle, having quit smoking and drinking long ago.

    Imich is just one of several Americans who have been recognized as the oldest people in the world. However, the U.S. is not known for having the oldest population in the world in general. According to a 2011 study by Euromonitor, all of the countries with the oldest populations are situated in Europe, with the exception of Japan. The United States, however, might soon join its European and Japanese counterparts, as the Administration of Aging expects the percentage of Americans older than 65 to reach 19 percent by 2030.
  • Jeanne Calment, Age 122
    Georges Gobet/POOL/AP
    The oldest person ever recorded was French citizen Jeanne Louise Calment, who reached a whopping age of 122 years and 164 days. Born in 1875, Calment witnessed both the technological innovations and the destructive wars of the 20th century before passing away in 1997 in her hometown of Arles, France.

    Despite having been the home of the oldest person in the world, France, just like the U.S., is not known as one of the countries with the world's oldest population. According to the United Nations, the French elderly population grew from 7 percent to 14 percent in 115 years. In contrast, it will only take developing nations China and Brazil twenty-something years to experience the same change in demographics.
  • Jiroemon Kimura, Age 116
    AP
    When Jiroeman Kimura died in June 2012 at the age of 116, he had been the oldest man for just around six months.

    Japan is accustomed to a large elderly community. In January 2011, more than a fifth of Japanese were older than 65 and the average life expectancy stood at 83.1 years. Yet Japan's long lifecycle will likely create headaches for its lawmakers, who face the world's second-largest public debt and a below-replacement birthrate, making it difficult to continue handing out generous pension plans to a retiring workforce.
  • Emma Morano, Age 114
    At age 114, Italian Emma Morano is the oldest person currently living in the European continent. Globally, she is the fifth oldest person, trailing behind Japanese Misao Okawa, and three American women, Jeralean Talley, Susannah Mushatt Jones and Bernice Madigan. Morano says a good night's sleep has contributed to her long life: She goes to bed before 7 p.m. and wakes before 6 a.m. She also eats one raw egg per day.

    Italy was recently ranked fourth in its percentage of citizens that are over 65 years old. Like Japan and other nations whose populations are aging, the Mediterranean country faces the challenges that come with a declining workforce. According to CNBC, the Italian population aged 0-14 hasn't grown since 1999, exacerbating the fact that only 37.4 percent of 55-64 year olds still work.
  • Maria Esther de Capovilla, Age 116
    Victor Proanio/AP
    When Ecuadorean Maria Capovilla died in 2006 at the age of 116, she was recognized as the oldest woman to have lived in Latin America and in a developing nation. Capovilla's daughter told the Los Angeles Times that her mother "always had a very tranquil character...She does not get upset by anything. She has been that way her whole life."

    Capovilla's impressive lifespan highlights the growing concern of other Latin American countries -- particularly Brazil, Mexico, and Chile -- whose aging populations will put burdens on government finances. A report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies estimates that "the number of elderly in Latin America will triple as a share of the population by 2050," resulting in a "dramatic slowdown in population growth." Another concern for the continent is that while life expectancy has increased, living standards in many Latin American countries have stagnated. CSIS warns that "while the United States, Europe, and Japan all became affluent societies before they became aging societies, Latin America may grow old before it grows rich."

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