Oldest woman living
María Branyas Morera
117 year(s):day(s)
Spain (Olot)

The oldest living woman – and person – whose date of birth can be authenticated is Maria Branyas Morera (USA/Spain, b. 4 March 1907), who was aged 117 years old as of 4 March 2024.

Maria took the title of oldest living woman upon the death of Lucile Randon aka Sister André (11 February 1904 – 17 January 2023) of France, who reached 118 years 340 days.

Maria has lived in the Residència Santa María del Tura nursing home in Olot, Catalonia, since 2000.

In an interview in 2019, she attributed her longevity to “an orderly life that is socially very pleasant... a good life, without excesses”.

Maria was born in San Francisco, California, USA, but moved with her family to Catalonia in 1915, where she finally settled in Barcelona.

She lived through the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 as well as the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), which she said she has “very bad memories” of.

Maria married a Catalan doctor named Joan Moret in 1931. The couple had three children (two daughters and a son), whom Maria dedicated herself to raising.

Maria has outlived her husband, who died in 1976, as well as her son, who passed away aged 86.

Over a century after surviving the 1918 pandemic, Maria successfully fought off COVID-19. She contracted the virus shortly after her 113th birthday in 2020, but she fully recovered within days to become the world’s oldest COVID-19 survivor. Her record was broken later in the year by Lucile Randon, who was three years Maria’s senior.

Besides having mobility and hearing issues, Maria is still in remarkably good health.

In an attempt to better understand the secrets to human longevity, researchers have taken samples of her DNA to analyse.

Manel Esteller, one of the scientists studying Maria, told Spanish outlet ABC: “She has a completely lucid head. She remembers with impressive clarity events from when she was only four years old, and she does not present any cardiovascular disease, common in elderly people.

“It is clear that there is a genetic component because there are several members of her family who are over 90 years old.”

In 2024, Maria celebrated her 117th birthday. On X (formerly Twitter), which she uses with help from her daughter, Maria wrote: “Good morning, world. Today I turn 117 years old. I've come this far.”

Maria is currently the 12th oldest verified person in history. The oldest person ever authenticated was France’s Jeanne Calment who lived to the age of 122 years 164 days.

Read more about Maria’s long life: