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Friday, May 09, 2014

The Projected Improvement in Life Expectancy

by Calculated Risk on 5/09/2014 03:10:00 PM

Here is something different, but it is important when looking at demographics ...

The following data is from the CDC United States Life Tables, 2009 by Elizabeth Arias released earlier this year.

The most frequently used life table statistic is life expectancy (ex), which is the average number of years of life remaining for persons who have attained a given age (x). ... Another way of assessing the longevity of the period life table cohort is by determining the proportion that survives to specified ages. ... To illustrate, 56,572 persons out of the original 2009 hypothetical life table cohort of 100,000 (or 56.6%) were alive at exact age 80. In other words, the probability that a person will survive from birth to age 80, given 2009 age-specific mortality, is 56.6%.
emphasis added
Instead of look at life expectancy, here is a graph of survivors out of 100,000 born alive, by age for three groups: those born in 1900-1902, born in 1949-1951 (baby boomers), and born in 2009.

Survivors Click on graph for larger image.

There was a dramatic change between those born in 1900 (blue) and those born mid-century (orange). The risk of infant and early childhood deaths dropped sharply, and the risk of death in the prime working years also declined significantly.

The CDC is projecting further improvement for childhood and prime working age for those born in 2009, but they are also projecting that people will live longer.

Death by AgeThe second graph uses the same data but looks at the number of people who die before a certain age, but after the previous age. As an example, for those born in 1900 (blue), 12,448 of the 100,000 born alive died before age 1, and another 5,748 died between age 1 and age 5.

The peak age for deaths didn't change much for those born in 1900 and 1950 (between 76 and 80, but many more people born in 1950 will make it). 

Now the CDC is projection the peak age for deaths - for those born in 2009 - will increase to 86 to 90!  Using these stats - for those born in 2014 - about half will make it to the next century.

Also the number of deaths for those younger than 20 will be very small (down to mostly accidents, guns, and drugs).  Self-driving cars might reduce the accident components of young deaths.

An amazing statistic: for those born in 1900, about 13 out of 100,000 made it to 100.  For those born in 1950, 199 are projected to make to 100 - an significant increase.   Now the CDC is projecting that 2,056 out of 100,000 born in 2009 will make it to 100.  Stunning!

Some people look at this data and worry about supporting all the old people.  To me, this is all great news - the vast majority of people can look forward to a long life - with fewer people dying in childhood or during their prime working years.  Awesome!