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Musings on Life Expectancy

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On the subject of death and dying, and how early or late it comes...

 

Life expectancy at birth, i.e. the age at which you'd expect 50% of the population to still be alive based on average mortality in each age bracket, has been tracking upwards worldwide by a year or two in every 5 years since 1950.  Currently it's sitting at 73.2 worldwide. https://www.worldometers.info/demographics/life-expectancy/

 

It's a useful metric; it often correlates well with a lot of other measures of wellbeing.  I tend to view different countries as sitting in the following tiers based on life expectancy:

 

Tier 1: Countries with a life expectancy of 80 or above (39 countries in total [depending a little on the definition of country]; covering most of Western Europe, with very strong East Asian representation and other scattered countries from N and S America, Australasia, elsewhere in Europe and the Middle East; Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, Switzerland and Singapore making up the top 5).  EDIT: Our many forumites from the UK might be interested if not surprised to know that we are in this tier, sitting at 29th in the world on 81.8, similar to Slovenia and Denmark.

Tier 2: Countries with a life expectancy of 75 to 79.9 (56 countries, with representation from every continent but Antarctica; with the larger countries in this tier including the USA and China)

Tier 3: Countries with a life expectancy of 70 to 74.9 (43 countries, also with representation from every continent but Antarctica; the larger countries in this tier including India, Indonesia and Russia)

Tier 4: Countries with a life expectancy of 65 to 69.9 (24 countries, mainly in Africa and Asia; Pakistan the largest country by population in this tier)

Tier 5: Countries with a life expectancy of 60 to 64.9 (19 countries; 18 of them in Africa plus Haiti; not sure which is the largest by population in this tier - maybe South Africa)

Tier 6: Countries with a life expectancy below 60 (10 countries; all of them in Africa; Nigeria the largest by population in this tier, and the Central African Republic sits at the very bottom of the list, at 54.6 years).  

 

Notably, of course, the global average in 1950 was significantly lower again than the worst-off country today; at 47.0 years, you'd need a few further tiers to cover all of the world at that time; and the highest ranked country in 1950-1955, Norway, had a slightly lower life expectancy (72.8) than the global average today.  We've come a long way in the last three score years and ten.

 

It's also worth noting that there can be considerable spread within the larger countries.  Different states of the USA in 2018 ranged from Tier 1 (10 states, with Hawaii at the top on 82.3) to Tier 3 (2 states - Mississippi and West Virginia).  Hawaii would sit between the 24th and 25th highest ranked countries in the world (Belgium and Portugal); West Virginia between the 95th and 96th (Jordan and Jamaica).  Similarly, different states of India in 2010-14 ranged from the border of Tier 2 and 3 (Kerala, on 74.9, similar to, say, Jordan, Jamaica or Mississippi today) to Tier 5 (4 states, with Assam at the bottom on 63.9, similar to Uganda, Niger or the Gambia).

 

This year, of course, we may well see a dip in life expectancy in much of the world, after seeing it flatten out and stop rising in a few rich countries in recent years (particularly the UK and the USA).  Over the next decade, however, I'd expect we continue to see most countries climb slowly up to where Tier 1 and 2 sit today; and Tier 1 may need to be split later if more countries join Japan and Hong Kong in having a life expectancy of 85 or over.  (Perhaps we should call these two countries Tier 0...)  As long as there are no truly catastrophic global events coming our way, of course.

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My family history tells me that the life expectancy of both female and male members is rising but there have been the early deaths in every generation that has kept the average down. Best I can hope for is 76 as the current average for the men and my sister can hope for 82 as the current average for women, anything past these figures will be a bonus as both our parents fell below the average.

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How many generations back have you gone for your calculation, and did you include everyone or just direct ancestors?

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33 minutes ago, torbrexbones said:

My family history tells me that the life expectancy of both female and male members is rising but there have been the early deaths in every generation that has kept the average down. Best I can hope for is 76 as the current average for the men and my sister can hope for 82 as the current average for women, anything past these figures will be a bonus as both our parents fell below the average.

 

My own family history is not promising in old age. Most likely, I might expect to either pop my clogs in my 60s or get Alzheimers in my 70s, looking at my parents and grandfathers, although my grandmothers and most of my uncles and aunts have done a bit better than this. And, of course, with life expectancy generally trending upwards slowly over time, we might hope for better outcomes than our parents in any event, with a bit of luck and good self-care.

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I don't think we'll see a "dip in life expectancy in much of the world" this year. Here in Jakarta the daily long-term death average is 100 per day. In March it went up to 150 and now it is around 130. Bearing in mind the daily birth rate is 400+ it makes little difference to the long term population growth.

Worldwide, about 60 million die per year, so the 600,000 from corona (or let's say 2 million as in many developing countries it has been underestimated), is still statistically insignificant.

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32 minutes ago, Youth in Asia said:

I don't think we'll see a "dip in life expectancy in much of the world" this year. Here in Jakarta the daily long-term death average is 100 per day. In March it went up to 150 and now it is around 130. Bearing in mind the daily birth rate is 400+ it makes little difference to the long term population growth.

Worldwide, about 60 million die per year, so the 600,000 from corona (or let's say 2 million as in many developing countries it has been underestimated), is still statistically insignificant.

 

I'd argue in favour of there being a small dip in life expectancy, just not a huge drop.  Excess total mortality will likely run to a few million by the end of the year, both from direct COVID mortality and indirect mortality such as disruption to usual healthcare services and economic consequences. It only takes a million or so of those excess deaths to be below the global average life expectancy of 73 for there to be a bit of a dip, and I think a million excess deaths in under-73s is a low end estimate. 

 

I would agree that the impact of COVID doesn't make that much difference to population growth, however, since a few million excess deaths doesn't count for much when global population is growing at 80 million per year. Furthermore, most deaths will be among people beyond child bearing age, and there may be a bit of a post-lockdown baby boom. 

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1 hour ago, Toast said:

How many generations back have you gone for your calculation, and did you include everyone or just direct ancestors?

I went back as far as I could along each line but I would say roughly 5 generations, I did include some siblings but not their families.

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15 minutes ago, torbrexbones said:

I went back as far as I could along each line but I would say roughly 5 generations, I did include some siblings but not their families.

 

Thanks, I might try that.  I can get that far on most lines.

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2 hours ago, Toast said:

 

Thanks, I might try that.  I can get that far on most lines.

 

I managed to get:

 

Great grandparent level – 70.8 years  (54.2 years men, 87.1 years women)
grandparental level = 71.5 years (and rising)  (65.6 years men, 75.9 years women)

What this tells me is that while this can give you a ball park, you aren't going to know your life span till you wake up one day aged 95 and think "how the fuck did I get here?". Well that, and apparently there's a big increase in the average male life expectancy when you aren't spraying a generation with poison gases in the Somme. Who knew?

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Parents 55

Grandparents 73

Great grandparents 68

Great-great grandparents 64

 

Grandparents total distorted by my paternal grandma reaching 100.  Her husband died at 55 and the other two didn't make 70.

On the whole the earlier generations were reasonably long-lived.  There are a pair who died in their 50s of pneumonia, bronchitis type of illnesses, another pair who died in their 30s from typhoid, one GGGM in a nasty accident at 40 and another GGGM at 35 of multiple sclerosis.  They have brought the averages down. 

 

No war dead. 

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My mum & dad are both 49. Doing fine, thankfully.

 

My maternal grandfather died at 70 (leukaemia). His parents both lived to 89 (mother dementia, father natural causes).

My maternal grandmother died at 80 (sepsis). Her mother lived to 69 (stroke) and father to 50 (TB).

 

My paternal grandmother is 71. She’s in absolutely amazing shape for her age, despite having just beaten cancer. Her mother lived to 81 (natural causes) and father to 86 (dementia).

My paternal grandfather is 73. He’s a fat cunt, with emphasis on both those words. Don’t know how he is, otherwise. Don’t care either. His parents both lived to 81. (don’t know how either of them died).

 

There are only two examples of a particularly early death as far as I’m aware: my maternal grandmother’s dad and her sister, who died of meningitis back in the mid-50s aged 28. Everyone else survived until a relatively ‘normal’ age. My oldest living relative is my late Nan’s brother, who is 90. I don’t know of any relatives who lived past their early 90s.
 

From this, I’m probably looking at living to about 77. To me, that’s just about ideal; I’m not interested in notable longevity. Just more years of immobility and incontinence innit.

 

 

As for the general topic of life expectancy, I only hope that if it carries on increasing worldwide it’s because of fewer premature deaths rather than more centenarians. People who make it to old age don’t need to live longer than they are doing at the moment.

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Everyone from my great grandparents generation is dead by now, but many of them made it to over 90 (an aunt even made it to 100). My grandparents are all still alive in their late 70s, though the quality of life in one of them isn’t really that great. So based on trends I should probably live to around the late 80s to my early 90s, but I’m not sure the quality of life being that old would be that great. But we’ll see...

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5 minutes ago, The Quim Reaper said:

My mum & dad are both 49. 

Oh flip, it’s another whippersnapper making me feel ancient :wacko:

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Two of my grandparents were adopted , my dad's mum and my mum's dad so there a lot of unknowns.

Those I do know

Mum - currently still here aged 80

Dad - died earlier this year aged 90

Maternal grandparents, maternal grandfather died before  I was born aged 68 from throat cancer, maternal grandmother died aged 91 from pleurisy.

Paternal grandparents - paternal gd died aged 85 and paternal gm aged 81 both from pneumonia.

great grandparents - no clue on my dad's side. On my mum's a real mix, her dad was adopted but we do know who his parents were. His mum died aged 30 about a year after giving birth and his dad died aged 25 in the Boer war. Maternal nan's dad also died fairly young aged 45 of heart disease but her mum lived until her 80s. 

After that the only ones I know about are my maternal nan's maternal grandparents. Ggm died aged 53 apparently from a laudanum overdose, her husband died aged 75 don't the cause. 

In addition all my nan's siblings bar one lived at least until their 80s.

So it's a real mixed bag for me.

 

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Not looking too clever for me.

 

Mother died at 53 and Father 73 (Leukemia and brain tumour respectively).

 

Grandparents fared better, dying in order of age at 95, 90, 76 and 65.

 

I'm 47, reasonable lifestyle but I drink FAR too much. I'd imagine I'm looking at early to mid 70s unless the drink kills me sooner.

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I’m sure we’ve played this game on another thread before. 

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My sister was born 12 years after me. They say that 1 in 3 people born in her year will live to see 100...

 

Her life expectancy is 93, mine is 88. You can actually find yours out here

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I wouldn’t really call the predicting the life expectancy sites reliable. The fact is that this site only asks for age and gender makes it less of a good indicator 

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Says I'll pop off at 86.  I'll take that although I'm hoping to get to 92. ( Don't ask why, I just am) 

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Ditto, Probably die from Corona, gin and wine before then. Being without fitness and mobility is the worst.

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Guessing your personal life expectancy is a very uncertain game. 

 

My Dad died of cancer at 61, his Dad of cancer at 60, and my Mum's Dad of heart disease at 67, so in some ways I'd be doing well to get to 68, if you look at recent men in my family... but two out of three of them smoked, which shaves off an average of ten years, and then there's medical advances etc since they died. Also, my Mum's still knocking around at 78 (even though she doesn't know what's going on, courtesy of Alzheimer's), both grandmothers made it to their 80s, and my various uncles and aunts are mostly still going strong.

 

Meanwhile, I'm in steady employment but no longer working nights, married, in good health, not smoking, not drinking too much and also pretty fond of exercise and the outdoors. If I don't mess up on a climb and fall off a cliff, I may have to reckon on a ripe old age. 

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Yeah sites like that arent something that should be taken as gospel, as we are of different shapes and sizes, illnesses, genes, lifestyle habits etc... These are all based on averages for your gender and DoB. 

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I'm going to live to 90 apparently which is probably accurate considering my grandmother on mum's side died at 97, grandparents on dad's side lived to 95 and his mother in 80's I think. I'm currently 31.

 

Downside is i'll either get cancer, go senile, lose my hearing or sight. Latter probably true as I wear reading glasses. Just a matter of me losing a bit of weight I think which I can easily do with enough exercise and eating right.

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Parents still both alive and not yet at Pension age.

 Grandparents made 74, 85,87,91

GGP ranged from 33 to 97.

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Looking at my family

 

Mum 74 and Dad 76. Still going 

 

Paternal Grandad died 95

Paternal Nan died 58 (brain cancer)

 

Maternal Grandpa died 79

Maternal Nan died 69 ( pancreatic cancer)

 

Going back in the history of both sides, my Nans both died very much younger than expected although there are some who got well into the 90s (back in the 19th century even!) 

 

One thing which does seem to be a common link in the maternal side is problems with pancreas- cancer and diabetes causing a lot premature deaths with aunts and uncles. 

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