Monday, June 16, 2008

Life Expectancy at RECORD HIGH 78.1 Years

According to a report last week from the National Center for Health Statistics, life expectancy at birth hit a record high in 2006 of 78.1 years, a 0.3 year increase from 2005 (see chart above). Record high life expectancy was recorded for both white males and black males (76 years and 70 years respectively) as well as for white females and black females (81 years and 76.9 years).

Since 1940, life expectancy has increased by more than 15 years, from 62.9 years to 78.1 years, an amazing 24% increase in average life expectancy. Americans today can expect to be alive an additional decade and a half longer than just a few generations ago.

It seems like this story about record high life expectancy went largely unreported in the press. The NY Times had a brief mention buried inside this story yesterday. The Washington Post reported on it here. What if life expectancy had gone down? It probably would have received a lot more attention. Maybe it's like economic news, and news in general - bad news sells, good news doesn't?


At 6/16/2008 8:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The world is in great danger if the life expectancy of economists keeps increasing"


At 6/16/2008 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a social aspect, I realize that increased life expectancy is good news. After all, who wants to be dead? However, is increased life expectancy truly good economic news for the country?

According to the Fidelity Research Institute, only half of the U.S. working population has planned for retirement by saving or estimating how much money they will require in retirement. Of the half who has planned, half of those just guessed at the amount they will need; Fidelity estimates most of those severely underestimate future income requirements. I think we can safely assume most people are not rich, and proper financial planning does not happen accidentally.

I’m not a financial expert, and Fidelity’s research could be biased; however, it seems to me with only 25% of U.S. workers properly planning on being able to support themselves in retirement, increased life spans could be a double-edged sword.

At 6/16/2008 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Socialized medicine will cure the long life problem.

At 6/16/2008 2:14 PM, Blogger Tom McMahon said...

In the 1940s old-time radio comedian did a bit with his wife, Portland Hoffa, along the lines that if the average life expectancy for a man was 62 years, he'd have to be dead 3 years before he could apply for Social Security. Oddly, Allen himself died of a heart attack in 1956, at age 62.

At 6/16/2008 4:33 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> "The world is in great danger if the life expectancy of economists keeps increasing"

Not at all true. If it is increasing, it means that people aren't pissed at them and out to kill them all.

This suggests that a long life expectancy for economists means that the world, esp. financially, is in fine shape (regardless of how much they actually contributed to it).

At 6/16/2008 4:37 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> However, is increased life expectancy truly good economic news for the country?

Since more and more jobs require mental acuity, rather than physical acuity, this is not so bad. While mental acuity fails, too, people who are older can certainly work longer at a computer than they can shovelling ditches, or supervising a manufacturing line of fribbets.

At 6/16/2008 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The life expectancy increase is significant particularly in light of the AIDS crisis, arguably the most significant health care crisis in a generation.


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