Why Supercentenarians Are so Frequent in French Dom? The Cases of Guadeloupe and Martinique

Jacques Vallin , Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

With regard to the total population, much more cases of supercenteanrians are observed in the French DOM (Départements d'Outre-Mer) than in the metropole. A first possible explanation was that, the classic French protocol of age validation of supercentenarians was not enough for DOM. But, if additional checks tend to confirm that the fact is real it becomes important and quite interesting to make explanatory hypotheses. Thanks to a special INED research fund, I am investigating in the DOM where the phenomenon is the most acute: Guadeloupe and Martinique. I am close to the term of the project and I would like to summarise here my first returns. They will show that combining several additional checks does not let serious room for really suspecting further the ages of supercentenarians (I paid a particular attention to possiblbe indentity substitution in case of infant deaths but I also checked the coherence of all events that occurred in the life of each supercentenarian). Findings also give some arguments in favour of one main possible explanation: the genetic selection by the extreme severity of the mortality inflicted to their slaves ancestors.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality