Studies of people of extreme old age – centenarians and their comparatively youthful 90-something counterparts – have become common only in recent decades, as the number of people of exceptional longevity has increased dramatically. Research on these individuals has focused on their health and health-related behaviors and has been conducted primarily by gerontologists. But in 1958, the Gallup polling firm conducted one of the earliest studies of this population, an extensive survey of 402 people who reported their age as 95 or older.
This survey, available from the Roper Center, is unique not only in its sample population but in the depth and breadth of the topics covered, resulting in a dataset with over 1,400 variables. […]