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Texas woman, 114, becomes oldest living American: Her tips for a happy, long life

Elizabeth Francis is now the fifth oldest person in the world at age 114.
/ Source: TODAY

A 114-year-old Houston woman has become the oldest living person in the U.S., according to LongeviQuest, an organization that tracks human longevity across the globe.

Elizabeth Francis is now the oldest living American at age 114 and 217 days after Edie Ceccarelli, the previous oldest living American, died at age 116 on Feb. 22 in California, according to LongeviQuest.

Francis is now also the fifth-oldest person on Earth, according to LongeviQuest. She's also included on the list of supercentenarians — people who are 110 and older — validated by the Gerontology Research Group, which verifies and tracks the world’s oldest people.

Courtesy Ethel Harrison

The 114-year-old Houston resident previously reflected on her longevity with

“It’s not my secret. It’s the good Lord’s good blessing,” Francis said an interview in August 2023. “I just thank God I’m here.”

Francis was born on July 25, 1909, a few months after William Taft was inaugurated president and 11 years before women had the right to vote in the U.S. She's lived through two World Wars, the Spanish Flu and the COVID pandemic.

The supercentenarian lives with her 94-year-old daughter, Dorothy Williams, in a private residence where caregivers come to the home every day, Francis' granddaughter Ethel Harrison told

“It’s just amazing,” Harrison, 68, said. “We’re so grateful that she’s still here, and my mom, who’s her daughter — she only had one child — is still alive also.”

Longevity runs in Francis' family — one of her sisters lived to age 106, and her father died at age 99, Harrison said.

Harrison said Francis has some memory problems and is confined to her bed, but she's mentally alert and recognizes her family.

“Try to do the best thing you can to everybody. Love everybody,” Francis said.

Harrison shared some of Francis' healthy habits with, including having social connections and supportive relationships, eating fresh, home-cooked foods and having faith.

“She tried to do things to stay healthy,” Harrison said. “Her life basically was pretty simple. She didn’t go out to parties and stuff like that. She was more of a homebody. She would go to church.”

Francis' granddaughter added that her grandmother never smoked or drank alcohol, and she regularly walked until her early 90s.