Why elderly Swede isn't the world's oldest woman

The Local
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Why elderly Swede isn't the world's oldest woman

The Local debunks rumours a Swedish woman is the world's oldest.


Jamaican Violet Moss-Brown is the world's oldest woman at 117 years.

But is a Scandinavian woman a challenger to the crown?

Sweden’s official registers contain a record of a woman currently living in the country who was born on June 1st, 1899 – almost a year before Moss-Brown's March 10, 1900, birth date.

That would make the evergreen Swede the oldest person in the world by a considerable distance, but all is not quite what it seems.

The Local contacted Sweden’s Tax Agency in 2016 for more information on the potential record breaker, and sadly, the myth was busted.

“The woman in question has an inaccurate 'personnummer' (the personal number, containing the bearer's date of birth, assigned to an individual once they take up residence in Sweden). She wasn’t born so early,” a Skatteverket spokesperson explained.

“We’ve had a few questions about it from people over the years. It’s a mistake, but we can’t find any official papers to detail her real age,” the tax authority elaborated.

Skatteverket did say that the possible centenarian “isn’t 70 years younger than recorded and definitely looks very old,” but they are certain that the world’s oldest title isn’t hers to claim, with the final word going to the family.

“We’ve spoken with the kids and even they’ve said ‘mum isn’t that old!’. It’s too good to be true. It sounds wrong, and we know it’s wrong,” the Skatteverket representative concluded.

The Local contacted the woman's family who did not wish to comment.

Updated in June 2017.


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