Number of Americans living past 100 jumps 44%

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The number of American centenarians — people who live past 100 years old — has increased by 44% since 2000, according to federal health officials.

More than 72,000 people age 100 and older lived in the United States in 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report released Thursday. That's up from 50,281 in centenarians 2000, and around just 15,000 in 1980.

Women make up the majority of those who live past 100, representing more than 80% of centenarians in 2014, the report found.

The report also noted that death rates for those older than 100 have slowed over the past six years, thanks in part to advances in healthcare, a bigger emphasis on health and wellbeing and better training for healthcare professionals who care for the elderly.

Heart disease has remained the leading cause of death among those over 100, the report found. Alzheimer's disease became the second-leading cause with a 119% increase in deaths since 2000. Death rates for influenza, pneumonia and stroke have all fallen over the past 14 years, the CDC noted.

Experts expect the number of centenarians to continue to skyrocket in the coming years as baby boomers age.