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Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, current age, and other
demographic Demography () is the statistics, statistical study of populations, especially human beings. Demographic analysis examines and measures the dimensions and Population dynamics, dynamics of populations; it can cover whole societies or groups ...
factors like sex. The most commonly used measure is life expectancy at birth (LEB), which can be defined in two ways. ''Cohort'' LEB is the mean length of life of a birth cohort (all individuals born in a given year) and can be computed only for cohorts born so long ago that all their members have died. ''Period'' LEB is the mean length of life of a
hypothetical A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation An explanation is a set of Statement (logic), statements usually constructed to description, describe a set of facts which clarifies the causality, causes, wiktionary:context, cont ...
cohort assumed to be exposed, from birth through death, to the
mortality rate Mortality rate, or death rate, is a measure of the number of deaths (in general, or due to a specific cause) in a particular Statistical population, population, scaled to the size of that population, per unit of time. Mortality rate is typically ...
s observed at a given year. National LEB figures reported by national agencies and international organizations for human populations are estimates of ''period'' LEB. In the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of ...
and the
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic) and the Bronze Age (Chalcolithic). The concept has been mostly appl ...
, human LEB was 26 years; in 2010, world LEB was 67.2 years. In recent years, LEB in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) is 49, while LEB in
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, while extending from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north ...
is 83. The combination of high
infant mortality Infant mortality is the death of young children under the age of 1. This death toll is measured by the infant mortality rate (IMR), which is the probability of deaths of children under one year of age per 1000 live births. The under-five morta ...
and deaths in young adulthood from accidents, epidemics, plagues, wars, and childbirth, before modern medicine was widely available, significantly lowers LEB. For example, a society with a LEB of 40 would have relatively few people dying at exactly 40: most will die before 30 or after 55. In populations with high infant mortality rates, LEB is highly sensitive to the rate of death in the first few years of life. Because of this sensitivity, LEB can be grossly misinterpreted, leading to the belief that a population with a low LEB would have a small proportion of older people. A different measure, such as life expectancy at age 5 (e5), can be used to exclude the effect of infant mortality to provide a simple measure of overall mortality rates other than in early childhood. For instance, in a society with a life expectancy of 30, it may nevertheless be common to have a 40-year remaining timespan at age 5 (but perhaps not a 60-year one). Until the middle of the 20th century, infant mortality was approximately 40–60% of the total mortality. Excluding child mortality, the average life expectancy during the 12th–19th centuries was approximately 55 years. If a person survived childhood, they had about a 50% chance of living 50–55 years, instead of only 25–40 years. Aggregate population measures—such as the proportion of the population in various age groups—are also used alongside individual-based measures—such as formal life expectancy—when analyzing population structure and dynamics. Pre-modern societies had universally higher mortality rates and lower life expectancies at every age for both males and females. This example is relatively rare. Life expectancy,
longevity The word "wikt:longevity, longevity" is sometimes used as a synonym for "life expectancy" in demography. However, the term ''longevity'' is sometimes meant to refer only to especially long-lived members of a population, whereas ''life expectanc ...
, and maximum lifespan are not synonymous. Longevity refers to the relatively long lifespan of some members of a population. Maximum lifespan is the age at death for the longest-lived individual of a species. Mathematically, life expectancy is denoted e_x and is the mean number of years of life remaining at a given age x, with a particular mortality. Because life expectancy is an average, a particular person may die many years before or after the expected survival. Life expectancy is also used in plant or animal
ecology Ecology () is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their biophysical environment, physical environment. Ecology considers organisms at the individual, population, community (ecology), community, ecosy ...
, and in
life table In actuarial science and demography, a life table (also called a mortality table or actuarial table) is a table which shows, for each age, what the probability is that a person of that age will die before their next birthday ("probability of death ...
s (also known as actuarial tables). The concept of life expectancy may also be used in the context of manufactured objects,Eliahu Zahavi, Vladimir Torbilo & Solomon Press (1996) Fatigue Design: Life Expectancy of Machine Parts. CRC Press. . though the related term
shelf life Shelf life is the length of time that a commodity may be stored without becoming unfit for use, consumption, or sale. In other words, it might refer to whether a commodity should no longer be on a pantry shelf (unfit for use), or no longer on a ...
is commonly used for consumer products, and the terms "mean time to breakdown" (MTTB) and "
mean time between failures Mean time between failures (MTBF) is the predicted elapsed time between inherent failures of a mechanical or electronic system during normal system operation. MTBF can be calculated as the arithmetic mean (average) time between failures of a system ...
" (MTBF) are used in engineering.


Human patterns


Maximum

The longest verified lifespan for any human is that of Frenchwoman
Jeanne Calment Jeanne Louise Calment (; 21 February 1875 – 4 August 1997) was a French supercentenarian and the oldest people, oldest human whose age is documented, with a lifespan of 122 years and 164 days. Her longevity attracted media attention and medi ...
, who is verified as having lived to age 122 years, 164 days, between 21 February 1875 and 4 August 1997. This is referred to as the "
maximum life span Maximum life span (or, for humans, maximum reported age at death) is a measure of the maximum amount of time one or more members of a population have been observed to life, survive between birth and death. The term can also denote an estimate of th ...
," which is the upper boundary of life, the maximum number of years any human is known to have lived.Santrock, John (2007). Life Expectancy. A Topical Approach to: Life-Span Development (pp. 128–132). New York, New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. A theoretical study shows that the maximum life expectancy at birth is limited by the human life characteristic value δ, which is around 104 years. According to a study by biologists Bryan G. Hughes and Siegfried Hekimi, there is no evidence for limit on human lifespan. However, this view has been questioned on the basis of error patterns. Records of human lifespan above age 100 are highly susceptible to errors. For example, the previous world-record holder for human lifespan, Carrie C. White was uncovered as a simple typographic error after more than two decades.


Variation over time

The following information is derived from the 1961 ''
Encyclopædia Britannica The (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-d ...
'' and other sources, some with questionable accuracy. Unless otherwise stated, it represents estimates of the life expectancies of the
world population In demographics, the world population is the total number of humans currently living. It was estimated by the United Nations to have exceeded 8 billion in November 2022. It took over 200,000 years of human prehistory and human history, ...
as a whole. In many instances, life expectancy varied considerably according to class and gender. Life expectancy at birth takes account of
infant mortality Infant mortality is the death of young children under the age of 1. This death toll is measured by the infant mortality rate (IMR), which is the probability of deaths of children under one year of age per 1000 live births. The under-five morta ...
and
child mortality Child mortality is the mortality rate, mortality of children under the age of five. The child mortality rate, also under-five mortality rate, refers to the probability of dying between birth and exactly five years of age expressed per 1,000 live ...
but not prenatal mortality. Life expectancy increases with age as the individual survives the higher mortality rates associated with childhood. For instance, the table above gives the life expectancy at birth among 13th-century English nobles at 30. Having survived to the age of 21, a male member of the English aristocracy in this period could expect to live: *1200–1300: to age 64 *1300–1400: to age 45 (because of the
bubonic plague Bubonic plague is one of three types of Plague (disease), plague caused by the plague Bacteria, bacterium (''Yersinia pestis''). One to seven days after exposure to the bacteria, flu-like symptoms develop. These symptoms include fever, headac ...
) *1400–1500: to age 69 *1500–1550: to age 71 17th-century English life expectancy was only about 35 years, largely because infant and child mortality remained high. Life expectancy was under 25 years in the early
Colony of Virginia The Colony of Virginia, chartered in 1606 and settled in 1607, was the first enduring English colonial empire, English colony in North America, following failed attempts at settlement on Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland by Sir Humphrey GilbertG ...
, and in seventeenth-century New England, about 40% died before reaching adulthood. During the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States, that occurred during the period from around 1760 to about 1820–1840. This transition included going fr ...
, the life expectancy of children increased dramatically. The under-5 mortality rate in London decreased from 74.5% (in 1730–1749) to 31.8% (in 1810–1829).
Public health Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals". Analyzing the det ...
measures are credited with much of the recent increase in life expectancy. During the 20th century, despite a brief drop due to the
1918 flu pandemic The 1918–1920 influenza pandemic, commonly known by the misnomer Spanish flu or as the Great Influenza epidemic, was an exceptionally deadly global influenza pandemic caused by the influenza A virus subtype H1N1, H1N1 influenza A virus. Th ...
, the average lifespan in the United States increased by more than 30 years, of which 25 years can be attributed to advances in public health.


Regional variations

Human beings are expected to live on average 30–40 years in
Eswatini Eswatini ( ; ss, eSwatini ), officially the Kingdom of Eswatini and formerly named Swaziland ( ; officially renamed in 2018), is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. It is bordered by Mozambique to its northeast and South Africa to its no ...
and 82.6 years in Japan. An analysis published in 2011 in ''
The Lancet ''The Lancet'' is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal and one of the oldest of its kind. It is also the world's highest-impact academic journal. It was founded in England in 1823. The journal publishes original research articles, r ...
'' attributes Japanese life expectancy to
equal opportunities Equal opportunity is a state of fairness in which individuals are treated similarly, unhampered by artificial barriers, prejudices, or preferences, except when particular distinctions can be explicitly justified. The intent is that the important ...
,
public health Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals". Analyzing the det ...
, and diet. There are great variations in life expectancy between different parts of the world, mostly caused by differences in
public health Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals". Analyzing the det ...
, medical care, and diet. The impact of
AIDS Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a retrovirus. Following initial infection an individual ma ...
on life expectancy is particularly notable in many African countries. According to projections made by the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...
in 2002, the life expectancy at birth for 2010–2015 (if
HIV/AIDS Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a retrovirus. Following initial infection an individual ma ...
did not exist) would have been: *70.7 years instead of 31.6 years, Botswana *69.9 years instead of 41.5 years, South Africa *70.5 years instead of 31.8 years, Zimbabwe Actual life expectancy in Botswana declined from 65 in 1990 to 49 in 2000 before increasing to 66 in 2011. In South Africa, life expectancy was 63 in 1990, 57 in 2000, and 58 in 2011. And in Zimbabwe, life expectancy was 60 in 1990, 43 in 2000, and 54 in 2011. During the last 200 years, African countries have generally not had the same improvements in mortality rates that have been enjoyed by countries in Asia, Latin America, and Europe. In the United States, African-American people have shorter life expectancies than their European-American counterparts. For example, white Americans in 2010 are expected to live until age 78.9, but black Americans only until age 75.1. This 3.8-year gap, however, is the lowest it has been since 1975 at the latest. The greatest difference was 7.1 years in 1993."Deaths: Final Data for 2010", ''National Vital Statistics Reports'', authored by Sherry L. Murphy, Jiaquan Xu, and Kenneth D. Kochanek, volume 61, number 4, page 12, 8 May 2013
/ref> In contrast, Asian-American women live the longest of all ethnic groups in the United States, with a life expectancy of 85.8 years. The life expectancy of Hispanic-Americans is 81.2 years. According to the new government reports in the US, life expectancy in the country dropped again because of the rise in suicide and drug overdose rates. The
Centers for Disease Control The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the National public health institutes, national public health agency of the United States. It is a Federal agencies of the United States, United States federal agency, under the United S ...
(CDC) found nearly 70,000 more Americans died in 2017 than in 2016, with rising rates of death among 25- to 44-year-olds. Cities also experience a wide range of life expectancy based on neighborhood breakdowns. This is largely due to economic clustering and poverty conditions that tend to associate based on geographic location. Multi-generational poverty found in struggling neighborhoods also contributes. In United States cities such as
Cincinnati Cincinnati ( ) is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Hamilton County, Ohio, Hamilton County. Settled in 1788, the city is located at the northern side of the confluence of the Licking River (Kentucky), Licking and Ohio Rive ...
, the life expectancy gap between low income and high-income neighborhoods touches 20 years.


Economic circumstances

Economic circumstances also affect life expectancy. For example, in the United Kingdom, life expectancy in the wealthiest and richest areas is several years higher than in the poorest areas. This may reflect factors such as diet and lifestyle, as well as access to medical care. It may also reflect a selective effect: people with chronic life-threatening illnesses are less likely to become wealthy or to reside in affluent areas. In
Glasgow Glasgow ( ; sco, Glesca or ; gd, Glaschu ) is the most populous city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ' ...
, the disparity is amongst the highest in the world: life expectancy for males in the heavily deprived Calton area stands at 54, which is 28 years less than in the affluent area of Lenzie, which is only away. A 2013 study found a pronounced relationship between
economic inequality There are wide varieties of economic inequality, most notably income inequality measured using the distribution of income (the amount of money people are paid) and wealth inequality measured using the distribution of wealth (the amount of we ...
and life expectancy. However, in contrast, a study by José A. Tapia Granados and Ana Diez Roux at the
University of Michigan The University of Michigan (U-M, UMich, or Michigan) is a public university, public research university in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Founded in 1817 by an act of the old Michigan Territory as the History of the University of Michigan#The Catholepistemi ...
found that life expectancy actually ''increased'' during the
Great Depression The Great Depression (19291939) was an economic shock that impacted most countries across the world. It was a period of economic depression that became evident after a major fall in stock prices in the United States. The Financial contagion, ...
, and during recessions and depressions in general. The authors suggest that when people are working at a more extreme degree during prosperous economic times, they undergo more stress, exposure to
pollution Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change. Pollution can take the form of any substance (solid, liquid, or gas) or energy (such as radioactivity, heat, sound, or light). Pollutants, the ...
, and the likelihood of injury among other longevity-limiting factors. Life expectancy is also likely to be affected by exposure to high levels of highway air pollution or industrial
air pollution Air pollution is the contamination of air due to the presence of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of humans and other living beings, or cause damage to the climate or to materials. There are many different types ...
. This is one way that occupation can have a major effect on life expectancy. Coal miners (and in prior generations, asbestos cutters) often have lower life expectancies than average. Other factors affecting an individual's life expectancy are genetic disorders, drug use,
tobacco smoking Tobacco smoking is the practice of burning tobacco and ingesting the resulting tobacco smoke, smoke. The smoke may be inhaled, as is done with cigarettes, or simply released from the mouth, as is generally done with tobacco pipes, pipes and cig ...
, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, access to health care, diet, and exercise.


Sex differences

In the present, female human life expectancy is greater than that of males, despite females having higher morbidity rates (see Health Survival paradox). There are many potential reasons for this. Traditional arguments tend to favor sociology-environmental factors: historically, men have generally consumed more
tobacco Tobacco is the common name of several plants in the genus ''Nicotiana'' of the Family (biology), family Solanaceae, and the general term for any product prepared from the curing of tobacco, cured leaves of these plants. Nicotiana#Species, M ...
,
alcohol Alcohol most commonly refers to: * Alcohol (chemistry) In chemistry, an alcohol is a type of organic compound that carries at least one hydroxyl () functional group bound to a Saturated and unsaturated compounds, saturated carbon atom. The ...
, and
drug A drug is any chemical substance that causes a change in an organism's physiology or psychology when consumed. Drugs are typically distinguished from food and substances that provide nutritional support. Consumption of drugs can be via inh ...
s than women in most societies, and are more likely to die from many associated diseases such as
lung cancer Lung cancer, also known as lung carcinoma (since about 98–99% of all lung cancers are carcinomas), is a malignant lung tumor characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissue (biology), tissues of the lung. Lung carcinomas derive from tran ...
,
tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by ''Mycobacterium tuberculosis'' (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections show no symptoms, in ...
, and
cirrhosis of the liver Cirrhosis, also known as liver cirrhosis or hepatic cirrhosis, and end-stage liver disease, is the impaired liver function caused by the formation of scar tissue known as fibrosis due to damage caused by liver disease. Damage causes tissue repai ...
. Men are also more likely to die from injuries, whether unintentional (such as occupational,
war War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or paramilitary groups such as Mercenary, mercenaries, Insurgency, insurgents, and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violenc ...
, or car accidents) or intentional (
suicide Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death Death is the Irreversible process, irreversible cessation of all biological process, biological functions that sustain an organism. For organisms with a brain, death can also ...
). Men are also more likely to die from most of the leading causes of death (some already stated above) than women. Some of these in the United States include cancer of the respiratory system, motor vehicle accidents, suicide, cirrhosis of the liver, emphysema, prostate cancer, and coronary heart disease. These far outweigh the female mortality rate from breast cancer and cervical cancer. In the past, mortality rates for females in child-bearing age groups were higher than for males at the same age. A paper from 2015 found that female fetuses have a higher mortality rate than male fetuses. This finding contradicts papers dating from 2002 and earlier that attribute the male sex to higher in-utero mortality rates. Among the smallest premature babies (those under ), females have a higher survival rate. At the other extreme, about 90% of individuals aged 110 are female. The difference in life expectancy between men and women in the United States dropped from 7.8 years in 1979 to 5.3 years in 2005, with women expected to live to age 80.1 in 2005. Data from the United Kingdom shows the gap in life expectancy between men and women decreasing in later life. This may be attributable to the effects of infant mortality and young adult death rates. Some argue that shorter male life expectancy is merely another manifestation of the general rule, seen in all mammal species, that larger-sized individuals within a species tend, on average, to have shorter lives. This biological difference occurs because women have more resistance to infections and degenerative diseases. In her extensive review of the existing literature, Kalben concluded that the fact that women live longer than men was observed at least as far back as 1750 and that, with relatively equal treatment, today males in all parts of the world experience greater mortality than females. However, Kalben's study was restricted to data in Western Europe alone, where the demographic transition occurred relatively early. United Nations statistics from mid-twentieth century onward, show that in all parts of the world, females have a higher life expectancy at age 60 than males. Of 72 selected causes of death, only 6 yielded greater female than male age-adjusted death rates in 1998 in the United States. Except for birds, for almost all of the animal species studied, males have higher mortality than females. Evidence suggests that the sex mortality differential in people is due to both biological/genetic and environmental/behavioral risk and protective factors. One recent suggestion is that
mitochondria A mitochondrion (; ) is an organelle found in the cells of most Eukaryotes, such as animals, plants and fungi. Mitochondria have a double membrane structure and use aerobic respiration to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which i ...
l mutations which shorten lifespan continue to be expressed in males (but less so in females) because mitochondria are inherited only through the mother. By contrast,
natural selection Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype. It is a key mechanism of evolution, the change in the Heredity, heritable Phenotypic trait, traits characteristic of a populati ...
weeds out mitochondria that reduce female survival; therefore, such mitochondria are less likely to be passed on to the next generation. This thus suggests that females tend to live longer than males. The authors claim that this is a partial explanation. Another explanation is the unguarded X hypothesis. According to this hypothesis, one reason for why the average lifespan of males isn't as long as that of females––by 18% on average, according to the study––is that they have a
Y chromosome The Y chromosome is one of two sex chromosomes ( allosomes) in therian mammals, including humans, and many other animals. The other is the X chromosome. Y is normally the sex-determining chromosome in many species In biology, a species ...
which can't protect an individual from harmful genes expressed on the X chromosome, while a duplicate X chromosome, as present in female organisms, can ensure harmful genes aren't expressed. Before the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States, that occurred during the period from around 1760 to about 1820–1840. This transition included going fr ...
, men lived longer than women on average. In developed countries, starting around 1880, death rates decreased faster among women, leading to differences in mortality rates between males and females. Before 1880, death rates were the same. In people born after 1900, the death rate of 50- to 70-year-old men was double that of women of the same age. Men may be more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease than women, but this susceptibility was evident only after deaths from other causes, such as infections, started to decline. Most of the difference in life expectancy between the sexes is accounted for by differences in the rate of death by cardiovascular diseases among persons aged 50–70.


Genetics

The
heritability Heritability is a statistic used in the fields of Animal husbandry, breeding and genetics that estimates the degree of ''variation'' in a phenotypic trait in a population that is due to genetic variation between individuals in that population. T ...
of lifespan is estimated to be less than 10%, meaning the majority of variation in lifespan is attributable due to differences in environment rather than
genetic variation Genetic variation is the difference in DNA among individuals or the differences between populations. The multiple sources of genetic variation include mutation and genetic recombination. Mutations are the ultimate sources of genetic variation, bu ...
. However, researchers have identified regions of the
genome In the fields of molecular biology and genetics, a genome is all the genetic information of an organism. It consists of nucleotide sequences of DNA (or RNA in RNA viruses). The nuclear genome includes protein-coding genes and non-coding gene ...
which can influence the length of life and the number of years lived in good health. For example, a
genome-wide association study In genomics, a genome-wide association study (GWA study, or GWAS), also known as whole genome association study (WGA study, or WGAS), is an observational study of a genome-wide set of genetic variants in different individuals to see if any vari ...
of 1 million lifespans found 12 genetic loci which influenced lifespan by modifying susceptibility to
cardiovascular The blood circulatory system is a system of organs that includes the heart The heart is a muscular organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (biology), a part of an organism Musical instruments * Organ (music), a family of keybo ...
and smoking-related disease. The locus with the largest effect is APOE. Carriers of the APOE ε4
allele An allele (, ; ; modern formation from Greek ἄλλος ''állos'', "other") is a variation of the same sequence of nucleotides at the Locus (genetics), same place on a long DNA molecule, as described in leading textbooks on genetics and evoluti ...
live approximately one year less than average (per copy of the ε4 allele), mainly due to increased risk of
Alzheimer's disease Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegeneration, neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and progressively worsens. It is the cause of 60–70% of cases of dementia. The most common early symptom is difficulty in short-term me ...
. In July 2020, scientists identified 10 genomic loci with consistent effects across multiple lifespan-related traits, including healthspan, lifespan, and
longevity The word "wikt:longevity, longevity" is sometimes used as a synonym for "life expectancy" in demography. However, the term ''longevity'' is sometimes meant to refer only to especially long-lived members of a population, whereas ''life expectanc ...
. The genes affected by variation in these loci highlighted haem metabolism as a promising candidate for further research within the field. This study suggests that high levels of iron in the blood likely reduce, and genes involved in metabolising iron likely increase healthy years of life in humans. A follow-up study which investigated the genetics of frailty and self-rated health in addition to healthspan, lifespan, and longevity also highlighted haem metabolism as an important pathway, and found genetic variants which lower blood protein levels of LPA and VCAM1 were associated with increased healthy lifespan.


Centenarians

In developed countries, the number of centenarians is increasing at approximately 5.5% per year, which means doubling the centenarian population every 13 years, pushing it from some 455,000 in 2009 to 4.1 million in 2050. Japan is the country with the highest ratio of centenarians (347 for every 1 million inhabitants in September 2010).
Shimane Prefecture is a Prefectures of Japan, prefecture of Japan located in the Chūgoku region of Honshu. Shimane Prefecture is the List of Japanese prefectures by population, second-least populous prefecture of Japan at 665,205 (February 1, 2021) and has a geo ...
had an estimated 743 centenarians per million inhabitants. In the United States, the number of centenarians grew from 32,194 in 1980 to 71,944 in November 2010 (232 centenarians per million inhabitants).


Mental illness

Mental illness is reported to occur in approximately 18% of the average American population. The mentally ill have been shown to have a 10- to 25-year reduction in life expectancy. Generally, the reduction of lifespan in the mentally ill population compared to the mentally stable population has been studied and documented. The greater mortality of people with mental disorders may be due to death from injury, from
co-morbid In medicine Medicine is the science and Praxis (process), practice of caring for a patient, managing the diagnosis, prognosis, Preventive medicine, prevention, therapy, treatment, Palliative care, palliation of their injury or disease, and He ...
conditions, or medication side effects. For instance, psychiatric medications can increase the risk of developing
diabetes Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a group of metabolic disorders characterized by a high blood sugar level ( hyperglycemia) over a prolonged period of time. Symptoms often include frequent urination, increased thirst and increase ...
. It has been shown that the psychiatric medication
olanzapine Olanzapine (sold under the trade name Zyprexa among others) is an atypical antipsychotic primarily used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. For schizophrenia, it can be used for both new-onset disease and long-term maintenance. It is ta ...
can increase risk of developing
agranulocytosis Agranulocytosis, also known as agranulosis or granulopenia, is an acute condition involving a severe and dangerous lowered white blood cell count (leukopenia, most commonly of neutrophils) and thus causing a neutropenia in the circulating blood. I ...
, among other comorbidities. Psychiatric medicines also affect the
gastrointestinal tract The gastrointestinal tract (GI tract, digestive tract, alimentary canal) is the tract or passageway of the digestive system that leads from the mouth to the anus. The GI tract contains all the major organ (biology), organs of the digestive syste ...
; the mentally ill have a four times risk of gastrointestinal disease. As of 2020 and the
COVID-19 Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by a virus, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first known case was COVID-19 pandemic in Hubei, identified in Wuhan, China, in December ...
pandemic, researchers have found an increased risk of death in the mentally ill.


Other illnesses

The life expectancy of people with diabetes, which is 9.3% of the U.S. population, is reduced by roughly 10–20 years. People over 60 years old with
Alzheimer's disease Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegeneration, neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and progressively worsens. It is the cause of 60–70% of cases of dementia. The most common early symptom is difficulty in short-term me ...
have about a 50% life expectancy of 3–10 years. Other demographics that tend to have a lower life expectancy than average include transplant recipients and the obese.


Education

Education on all levels has been shown to be strongly associated with increased life expectancy. This association may be due partly to higher income, which can lead to increased life expectancy. Despite the association, among identical twin pairs with different education levels, there is only weak evidence of a relationship between educational attainment and adult mortality. According to a paper from 2015, the mortality rate for the Caucasian population in the United States from 1993 to 2001 is four times higher for those who did not complete high school compared to those who have at least 16 years of education. In fact, within the U.S. adult population, people with less than a high school education have the shortest life expectancies. Preschool education also plays a large role in life expectancy. It was found that high-quality early-stage childhood education had positive effects on health. Researchers discovered this by analyzing the results of the Carolina Abecedarian Project, finding that the disadvantaged children who were randomly assigned to treatment had lower instances of risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in their mid-30s.


Evolution and aging rate

Various species of plants and animals, including humans, have different lifespans. Evolutionary theory states that organisms which—by virtue of their defenses or lifestyle—live for long periods and avoid accidents, disease, predation, etc. are likely to have genes that code for slow aging, which often translates to good cellular repair. One theory is that if predation or accidental deaths prevent most individuals from living to an old age, there will be less natural selection to increase the intrinsic life span. That finding was supported in a classic study of opossums by Austad; however, the opposite relationship was found in an equally prominent study of guppies by Reznick. One prominent and very popular theory states that lifespan can be lengthened by a tight budget for food energy called
caloric restriction Calorie restriction (caloric restriction or energy restriction) is a dietary regimen that reduces intake of energy from caloric foods & beverages without incurring malnutrition Malnutrition occurs when an organism gets too few or too many nu ...
. Caloric restriction observed in many animals (most notably mice and rats) shows a near doubling of life span from a very limited calorific intake. Support for the theory has been bolstered by several new studies linking lower
basal metabolic rate Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the rate of food energy, energy expenditure per unit time by endotherm, endothermic animals at rest. It is reported in energy units per unit time ranging from watt (joule/second) to ml O2/min or joule per hour per kg b ...
to increased life expectancy. That is the key to why animals like giant
tortoise Tortoises () are reptiles of the family Testudinidae of the order Testudines (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect ...
s can live so long. Studies of humans with life spans of at least 100 have shown a link to decreased thyroid activity, resulting in their lowered metabolic rate. In a broad survey of zoo animals, no relationship was found between investment of the animal in reproduction and its life span.


Calculation

In
actuarial notation Actuarial notation is a shorthand method to allow Actuary, actuaries to record mathematical formulas that deal with Interest, interest rates and life tables. Traditional notation uses a halo system where symbols are placed as superscript or subsc ...
, the probability of surviving from age x to age x+n is denoted \,_np_x\! and the probability of dying during age x (i.e. between ages x and x+1) is denoted q_x\! . For example, if 10% of a group of people alive at their 90th birthday die before their 91st birthday, the age-specific death probability at 90 would be 10%. This probability describes the ''likelihood'' of dying at that age, and is not the ''rate'' at which people of that age die. It can be shown that The ''curtate future lifetime'', denoted K(x), is a discrete random variable representing the remaining lifetime at age x, rounded down to whole years. Life expectancy, more technically called the ''curtate expected lifetime'' and denoted ''\,e_x\! ,'' is the
mean There are several kinds of mean in mathematics, especially in statistics. Each mean serves to summarize a given group of data, often to better understand the overall value (magnitude (mathematics), magnitude and sign (mathematics), sign) of a gi ...
of K(x)—that is to say, the expected number of whole years of life remaining, assuming survival to age x. So, Substituting () into the sum and simplifying gives the final result If the assumption is made that, on average, people live a half year on the year of their death, the complete life expectancy at age x would be e_x + 1/2. By definition, life expectancy is an
arithmetic mean In mathematics Mathematics is an area of knowledge that includes the topics of numbers, formulas and related structures, shapes and the spaces in which they are contained, and quantities and their changes. These topics are represented in ...
. It can also be calculated by integrating the survival curve from 0 to positive infinity (or equivalently to the maximum lifespan, sometimes called 'omega'). For an extinct or completed cohort (all people born in the year 1850, for example), it can of course simply be calculated by averaging the ages at death. For cohorts with some survivors, it is estimated by using mortality experience in recent years. The estimates are called period cohort life expectancies. The starting point for calculating life expectancy is the age-specific death rates of the population members. If a large amount of data is available, a
statistical population In statistics, a population is a Set (mathematics), set of similar items or events which is of interest for some question or experiment. A statistical population can be a group of existing objects (e.g. the set of all stars within the Milky Way g ...
can be created that allow the age-specific death rates to be simply taken as the mortality rates actually experienced at each age (the number of deaths divided by the number of years "exposed to risk" in each data cell). However, it is customary to apply smoothing to remove (as much as possible) the random statistical fluctuations from one year of age to the next. In the past, a very simple model used for this purpose was the
Gompertz function The Gompertz curve or Gompertz function is a type of mathematical model A mathematical model is a description of a system using mathematical concepts and language Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a la ...
, but more sophisticated methods are now used. The most common modern methods include: *fitting a mathematical formula (such as the Gompertz function, or an extension of it) to the data. *looking at an established mortality table derived from a larger population and making a simple adjustment to it (such as multiplying by a constant factor) to fit the data. (In cases of relatively small amounts of data.) *looking at the mortality rates actually experienced at each age and applying a piecewise model (such as by cubic splines) to fit the data. (In cases of relatively large amounts of data.) The age-specific death rates are calculated separately for separate groups of data that are believed to have different mortality rates (such as males and females, or smokers and non-smokers) and are then used to calculate a
life table In actuarial science and demography, a life table (also called a mortality table or actuarial table) is a table which shows, for each age, what the probability is that a person of that age will die before their next birthday ("probability of death ...
from which one can calculate the probability of surviving to each age. While the data required are easily identified in the case of humans, the computation of life expectancy of industrial products and wild animals involves more indirect techniques. The life expectancy and demography of wild animals are often estimated by capturing, marking, and recapturing them. The life of a product, more often termed
shelf life Shelf life is the length of time that a commodity may be stored without becoming unfit for use, consumption, or sale. In other words, it might refer to whether a commodity should no longer be on a pantry shelf (unfit for use), or no longer on a ...
, is also computed using similar methods. In the case of long-lived components, such as those used in critical applications (e.g. aircraft), methods like accelerated aging are used to model the life expectancy of a component. It is important to note that the life expectancy statistic is usually based on past mortality experience and assumes that the same age-specific mortality rates will continue. Thus, such life expectancy figures need to be adjusted for temporal trends before calculating how long a currently living individual of a particular age is expected to live. Period life expectancy remains a commonly used statistic to summarize the current health status of a population. However, for some purposes, such as pensions calculations, it is usual to adjust the life table used by assuming that age-specific death rates will continue to decrease over the years, as they have usually done in the past. That is often done by simply extrapolating past trends, but some models exist to account for the evolution of mortality, like the Lee–Carter model. As discussed above, on an individual basis, some factors correlate with longer life. Factors that are associated with variations in life expectancy include family history, marital status, economic status, physique, exercise, diet, drug use (including smoking and alcohol consumption), disposition, education, environment, sleep, climate, and health care.


Healthy life expectancy

To assess the quality of these additional years of life, 'healthy life expectancy' has been calculated for the last 30 years. Since 2001, the World Health Organization has published statistics called Healthy life expectancy (HALE), defined as the average number of years that a person can expect to live in "full health" excluding the years lived in less than full health due to disease and/or injury. Since 2004,
Eurostat Eurostat ('European Statistical Office'; DG ESTAT) is a Directorate-General of the European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, ...
publishes annual statistics called
Healthy Life Years The Healthy Life Years (HLY) indicator, also known as disability-free life expectancy Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, current age, and other d ...
(HLY) based on reported activity limitations. The
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
uses similar indicators in the framework of the national health promotion and disease prevention plan " Healthy People 2010". More and more countries are using health expectancy indicators to monitor the health of their population. The long-standing quest for longer life led in the 2010s to a more promising focus on increasing HALE, also known as a person's "healthspan". Besides the benefits of keeping people healthier longer, a goal is to reduce health-care expenses on the many diseases associated with
cellular senescence Cellular senescence is a phenomenon characterized by the cessation of cell division. In their experiments during the early 1960s, Leonard Hayflick and Paul Moorhead found that normal human fetal fibroblasts in culture reach a maximum of approxim ...
. Approaches being explored include
fasting Fasting is the abstention from eating and sometimes drinking. From a purely physiology, physiological context, "fasting" may refer to the metabolism, metabolic status of a person who has not eaten overnight (see "Breakfast"), or to the metabolic ...
,
exercise Exercise is a Human body, body activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. It is performed for various reasons, to aid growth and improve strength, develop muscles and the cardiovascular system, hone ...
, and senolytic drugs.


Forecasting

Forecasting life expectancy and mortality form an important subdivision of
demography Demography () is the statistics, statistical study of populations, especially human beings. Demographic analysis examines and measures the dimensions and Population dynamics, dynamics of populations; it can cover whole societies or groups ...
. Future trends in life expectancy have huge implications for old-age support programs (like U.S. Social Security and
pension A pension (, from Latin ''pensiō'', "payment") is a fund into which a sum of money is added during an employee's employment years and from which payments are drawn to support the person's retirement from work in the form of periodic payments ...
) since the cash flow in these systems depends on the number of recipients who are still living (along with the rate of return on the investments or the tax rate in pay-as-you-go systems). With longer life expectancies, the systems see increased cash outflow; if the systems underestimate increases in life-expectancies, they will be unprepared for the large payments that will occur, as humans live longer and longer. Life expectancy forecasting is usually based on one of two different approaches: # Forecasting the life expectancy directly, generally using
ARIMA Arima, officially The Royal Chartered Borough of Arima is the easternmost and second largest in area of the three boroughs of Trinidad and Tobago. It is geographically adjacent to Sangre Grande and Arouca, Trinidad and Tobago, Arouca at the s ...
or other time-series extrapolation procedures. This has the advantage of simplicity, but it cannot account for changes in mortality at specific ages, and the forecast number cannot be used to derive other
life table In actuarial science and demography, a life table (also called a mortality table or actuarial table) is a table which shows, for each age, what the probability is that a person of that age will die before their next birthday ("probability of death ...
results. Analyses and forecasts using this approach can be done with any common statistical/mathematical software package, like EViews, R, SAS, Stata,
Matlab MATLAB (an abbreviation of "MATrix LABoratory") is a Proprietary software, proprietary multi-paradigm programming language, multi-paradigm programming language and numerical analysis, numeric computing environment developed by MathWorks. MATLA ...
, or
SPSS SPSS Statistics is a statistical software suite developed by IBM for data management, advanced analytics, multivariate analysis, business intelligence, and criminal investigation. Long produced by SPSS Inc., it was acquired by IBM in 2009. Curre ...
. # Forecasting age-specific
death rates Mortality rate, or death rate, is a measure of the number of death Death is the Irreversible process, irreversible cessation of all biological process, biological functions that sustain an organism. For organisms with a brain, death can al ...
and computing the life expectancy from the results with life table methods. This is usually more complex than simply forecasting life expectancy because the analyst must deal with correlated age-specific mortality rates, but it seems to be more robust than simple one-dimensional
time series In mathematics Mathematics is an area of knowledge that includes the topics of numbers, formulas and related structures, shapes and the spaces in which they are contained, and quantities and their changes. These topics are represented in m ...
approaches. It also yields a set of age-specific rates that may be used to derive other measures, such as survival curves or life expectancies at different ages. The most important approach in this group is the Lee-Carter model, which uses the
singular value decomposition In linear algebra Linear algebra is the branch of mathematics concerning linear equations such as: :a_1x_1+\cdots +a_nx_n=b, linear maps such as: :(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \mapsto a_1x_1+\cdots +a_nx_n, and their representations in vector spaces ...
on a set of transformed age-specific mortality rates to reduce their dimensionality to a single time series, forecasts that time series, and then recovers a full set of age-specific mortality rates from that forecasted value. The software includes Professor Rob J. Hyndman'
R package called 'demography'
an
UC Berkeley's LCFIT system


Policy uses

Life expectancy is one of the factors in measuring the
Human Development Index The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy, Education Index, education (mean years of schooling completed and expected years of schooling upon entering the Educational system, education system), ...
(HDI) of each nation along with adult literacy, education, and standard of living. Life expectancy is used in describing the physical quality of life of an area. It is also used for an individual when the value of a life settlement is determined a life insurance policy is sold for a cash asset. Disparities in life expectancy are often cited as demonstrating the need for better medical care or increased social support. A strongly associated indirect measure is
income inequality There are wide varieties of economic inequality, most notably income inequality measured using the distribution of income (the amount of money people are paid) and wealth inequality measured using the distribution of wealth (the amount of we ...
. For the top 21 industrialized countries, if each person is counted equally, life expectancy is lower in more unequal countries (r = −0.907). There is a similar relationship among states in the U.S. (r = −0.620).


Life expectancy vs. maximum life span

Life expectancy is commonly confused with the average age an adult could expect to live. This confusion may create the expectation that an adult would be unlikely to exceed an average life expectancy, even though, with all statistical probability, an adult, who has already avoided many statistical causes of adolescent mortality, should be expected to outlive the average life expectancy calculated from birth. One must compare the life expectancy of the period after childhood to estimate also the life expectancy of an adult. Life expectancy can change dramatically after childhood, even in preindustrial times as is demonstrated by the Roman Life Expectancy table, which estimates life expectancy to be 25 years ''at birth'', but 53 years upon reaching age 25. Additional studies similarly show a dramatic increase in life expectancy once adulthood was reached. Life expectancy differs from
maximum life span Maximum life span (or, for humans, maximum reported age at death) is a measure of the maximum amount of time one or more members of a population have been observed to life, survive between birth and death. The term can also denote an estimate of th ...
. Life expectancy is an average for all people in the population—including those who die shortly after birth, those who die in early adulthood (e.g. childbirth, war), and those who live unimpeded until old age. Maximum lifespan is an individual-specific concept, and therefore is an upper bound rather than an average. Science author Christopher Wanjek writes, " s the human race increased its life span? Not at all. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about old age: we are not living any longer." The maximum life span, or oldest age a human can live, may be constant. Further, there are many examples of people living significantly longer than the average life expectancy of their time period, such as
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greeks, Greek philosopher from Classical Athens, Athens who is credited as the founder of Western philosophy and among the first moral philosophers of the Ethics, ethical tradition of thought. An enigmati ...
(71), Saint Anthony the Great (105),
Michelangelo Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (; 6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), known as Michelangelo (), was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet of the High Renaissance. Born in the Republic of Florence, his work was insp ...
(88), and
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Befor ...
(90). However, anthropologist John D. Hawks criticizes the popular conflation of life span (life expectancy) and
maximum life span Maximum life span (or, for humans, maximum reported age at death) is a measure of the maximum amount of time one or more members of a population have been observed to life, survive between birth and death. The term can also denote an estimate of th ...
when popular science writers falsely imply that the average adult human does not live longer than their ancestors. He writes, " e-specific mortality rates have declined across the adult lifespan. A smaller fraction of adults die at 20, at 30, at 40, at 50, and so on across the lifespan. As a result, we live longer on average... In every way we can measure, human lifespans are longer today than in the immediate past, and longer today than they were 2000 years ago... age-specific mortality rates in adults really have reduced substantially."


See also


Increasing life expectancy


Notes


References


Further reading

* Leonid A. Gavrilov & Natalia S. Gavrilova (1991), ''The Biology of Life Span: A Quantitative Approach''. New York: Harwood Academic Publisher, *Kochanek, Kenneth D., Elizabeth Arias, and Robert N. Anderson (2013),
How Did Cause of Death Contribute to Racial Differences in Life Expectancy in the United States in 2010?
'. Hyattsville, Md.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the National public health institutes, national public health agency of the United States. It is a Federal agencies of the United States, United States federal agency, under the United S ...
,
National Center for Health Statistics The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is a U.S. government agency that provides statistical information to guide actions and policies to improve the public health of the American people. It is a unit of the Centers for Disease Control ...
.


External links


Charts for all countriesOur World In Data – Life Expectancy
Visualizations of how life expectancy around the world has changed historically (by Max Roser). Includes life expectancy for different age groups. Charts for all countries, world maps, and links to more data sources.
Global Agewatch has the latest internationally comparable statistics on life expectancy from 195 countries.
from the CIA's World Factbook.

from the US Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics.

from the University of Texas. *Animal lifespans

from Tesarta Online (Internet Archive)

from Dr. Bob's All Creatures Site. {{DEFAULTSORT:Life Expectancy Actuarial science Demographic economics Senescence Demography Population