Sunday, August 24, 2014

Life expectancy is accelerating

The Economist published this week male’s life expectancy at birth in UK since 1971. According to their source life expectancy in 1979 was 69 years old, in 2012 it was 79. Not sure why they selected males instead of female (perhaps data is less volatile for males). In 40 years British males’ life expectancy at birth has increased by 10 years, that’s 3 months every year on average! The most interesting thing, though, is that life expectancy has been accelerating. The rate at which life expectancy increased in the 1970’s was lower than today. I added the black dotted line which shows the best fitted line to the original graph. From it one can estimate that, in fact, in 1970 the increase in life expectancy was 1.8 months every year, in 2012 that increase was 4.2 months every year. That’s an acceleration of 1 month every twenty years.

There’s of course a limit here, one can’t increase its life expectancy by 12 months per year or more because that would mean you are immortal. In any case we are living longer at an accelerating rate.