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Encyclopedia > Life expectancy
CIA World Factbook 2007 Estimates for Life Expectancy at birth (years).      over 80      77.5-80.0      75.0-77.5      72.5-75.0      70.0-72.5      67.5-70.0      65.0-67.5      60-65      55-60      50-55      45-50      40-45      under 40      not available
CIA World Factbook 2007 Estimates for Life Expectancy at birth (years).
     over 80      77.5-80.0      75.0-77.5      72.5-75.0      70.0-72.5      67.5-70.0      65.0-67.5      60-65      55-60      50-55      45-50      40-45      under 40      not available

Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average life span (average length of survival) of a specified population. It most often refers to the expected age to be reached before death for a given human population (by nation, by year of birth, or by other demographic variables). Life expectancy may also refer to the expected time remaining to live, and that too can be calculated for any age or for any group. Dean Ray Koontz (born July 9, 1945 in Everett, Pennsylvania) is an American writer. ... Life Expectancy is a novel by science fiction/horror writer Dean R. Koontz. ... Life span is one of the most important parameters of any living organism. ... Demographics refers to selected population characteristics as used in government, marketing or opinion research, or the demographic profiles used in such research. ...

Life expectancy is heavily dependent on the criteria used to select the group. In countries with high infant mortality rates, the life expectancy at birth is highly sensitive to the rate of death in the first few years of life. In these cases, another measure such as life expectancy at age 5 (e5) can be used to exclude the effects of infant mortality to reveal the effects of causes of death other than early childhood causes. is the death of infants in the first year of life. ...

For the life expectancy of adults rather than from birth see longevity. Longevity is a term that generally refers to long life or great duration of life.[1] Reflections on longevity have usually gone beyond acknowledging the basic shortness of human life and have included thinking about methods to extend life. ...

See also List of countries by life expectancy This article is under construction. ...


Life expectancy over human history

Life expectancy has been increasing and converging for most of the world.      Asia (excluding Middle East)      Central America & Caribbean      Europe      Middle East & North Africa      North America      Oceania      South America      Sub-Saharan Africa
Life expectancy has been increasing and converging for most of the world.      Asia (excluding Middle East)      Central America & Caribbean      Europe      Middle East & North Africa      North America      Oceania      South America      Sub-Saharan Africa

Life expectancy is the average number of years a human has before death, conventionally calculated from the time of birth, but also can be calculated from any specified age.

One of the biggest jumps in life expectancy coincided with the introduction of sewers, which greatly reduced the spread of disease. In the last few centuries a strong statistical effect was caused by the near elimination of infant mortality in the Western world and elsewhere. Average life expectancy before the health transition of the modern era is thought to have varied between about 20 years and 40 years. It is important to note that most people who quote pre-modern life expectancies include infant mortality in their calculations. Also, the life expectancy for women was lower throughout history than it was for men; because, until modern medicine, one in four women died in childbirth. If one survived childhood one could expect to live into old age in any time throughout history. Psalm 90 (from the earlier half of the first millennium BC)states that: "The days of our years are threescore years and ten and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years yet is their strength labour and sorrow for it is soon cut off and we fly away." In the 17th Century, Francis Bacon's wrote in his (1623) History of Life and Death: "In England I imagine there is scarce any village of any size in which an octogenarian man or woman may not be found. A few years ago, at a May-game in Herefordshire, a morris dance was performed by eight men, whose united ages made up 800 years; some of them exceeding 100." It has been suggested that life expectancy fell with the introduction of plant and animal domestication because of: For the art of stitching, see Sewing. ... For Wikipedia statistics, see m:Statistics Statistics is the science and practice of developing human knowledge through the use of empirical data expressed in quantitative form. ... Parturition redirects here. ... Dogs and sheep were among the first animals to be domesticated. ...

  • higher infection rates caused by the quick increase in human settlement size and density,
  • poorer nutrition due to low dietary variety.[1]

Advances in sanitation, nutrition, and medical knowledge made possible incredible changes in life expectancy in the United States and throughout the world, providing subjects for study as well as the need to study them. In the United States, only 50 percent of children born in 1900 could reasonably hope to reach the age of 50; life expectancy today is approximately 77 years of age. But note that there is a big discrepancy between males and females, 73.6 years for men and 79.4 years for women. Life expectancy is lower for African Americans; 67.2 years for men and 74.7 years for women (Hoyert, Kochanek, and Murphy, 1999). E. Coli bacteria under magnification Sanitation is the hygienic disposal or recycling of waste, as well as the policy and practice of protecting health through hygienic measures. ... The Nutrition Facts table indicates the amounts of nutrients which experts recommend you limit or consume in adequate amounts. ...

Life expectancy recovered somewhat, but it is only in recent centuries that it has dramatically increased. These changes are the result of a combination of factors including nutrition and public health, and medicine only marginally. The most important single factor in the increase is the reduction of death in infancy.

The greatest improvements have been in the richest parts of the world. Life expectancy increased dramatically in the 20th century. Life expectancy at birth in the United States in 1900 was 47 years. Life expectancy in India at mid-century was around 32, by 2000 it had risen to 64 years. According to the 2006 WHO Report, due to HIV/AIDS and other health related issues today's life expectancy in poorer nations is almost half that of the industrialized, richer nations [1]. Äž: For the film, see: 1900 (film). ... Species Human immunodeficiency virus 1 Human immunodeficiency virus 2 Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS, a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections). ... For other uses, see AIDS (disambiguation). ...

Calculating life expectancy from birth emphasizes contributions to improvement in health at lower ages; low pre-modern life expectancy is influenced by high infant and childhood mortality. If a person did make it to the age of forty they had an average of another twenty years to live. Improvements in sanitation, public health, and nutrition have mainly increased the numbers of people living beyond childhood, with less effect on overall average lifetimes.

The major exception to this general pattern of improvement has been in countries most affected by AIDS, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, which have seen significant decrements in life expectancy. Another exception is Russia and some other former USSR republics after the collapse of the Soviet Union - in 1999 life expectancy of men dropped to 59.9 years (below the official retirement age), and the life expectancy of women dropped to 72.43 years. The commonly offered hypothesis for this decrease is not related to AIDS/HIV but rather to an increase in alcohol and drug abuse.[2] For other uses, see AIDS (disambiguation). ... Satellite image of Africa, showing the ecological break that defines the sub-Saharan area Sub-Saharan Africa is a geographical term used to describe the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara, or those African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara. ... Former USSR is the name given to the region of Europe and Asia comprising former republics of the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), which dissolved in 1991. ... Comparison of the perceived harm for various psychoactive drugs from a poll among medical psychiatrists specialized in addiction treatment[1] This article is an overview of the nontherapeutic use of alcohol and drugs of abuse. ...

In recent years, obesity-related diseases have become a major public health issue in many countries. The prevalence of obesity is thought to have reduced life expectancy by contributing to the rise of cancers, heart disease and diabetes in the developed world. However, recent studies in the developed world have found "that people who are modestly overweight have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight."[3] It remains to be determined whether this epidemic will have negative effect on the life expectancy of developed countries. Most continue to have improving life expectancies.

Timeline for humans

Homo sapiens live on average 32.6 years in Swaziland and on average 81 years in Australia. The oldest confirmed recorded age for any human is 122 years, though some people are reported to have lived longer. Although there are several longevity myths mostly in different stories that were spread in some cultures, there is no scientific proof of a human living for hundreds of years at any point of time. The following information is derived from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1961, as well as other sources: Homo sapiens (Latin: wise man) is the scientific name for the human species. ... Jeanne Louise Calment (February 21, 1875 – August 4, 1997) reached the longest confirmed lifespan in history at 122 years and 164 days. ... Longevity myths are claims to extreme longevity that are of dubious reliability, or even subsequently disproven. ...

Humans by Era Average Lifespan at Birth
Neanderthal 20 Homo neanderthalensis is a similar species of modern humans but is still in any case a fellow member of the genus Homo.
Upper Paleolithic 33 At age 15: 39 (to age 54)[4][5]
Neolithic 20  
Bronze Age[6] 18  
Classical Greece[7] 20-30  
Classical Rome[8][9] 20-30  
Pre-Columbian North America[10] 25-35  
Medieval Britain[11][12] 20-30  
Early 20th Century[13][14] 30-40  
Current world average[15] 78

These represent the life expectancies of the population as a whole. In many instances life expectancy varied considerably according to class and gender. Life expectancy rises sharply in all cases for those who reach puberty. All statistics include infant mortality, but not miscarriage or abortion. This table also rejects certain beliefs based on myths that the old age man had a higher life expectancy. The sharp drop in life expectancy with the advent of the Neolithic mirrors the evidence that the advent of agriculture actually marked a sharp drop in life expectancy that humans are only recovering from in affluent nations today. For other uses, see Neanderthal (disambiguation). ... // The Paleolithic is a prehistoric era distinguished by the development of stone tools. ... An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. ... The Bronze Age is a period in a civilizations development when the most advanced metalworking has developed the techniques of smelting copper from natural outcroppings and alloys it to cast bronze. ... Parthenon This article is on the term Classical Greece itself. ... History - Ancient history - Ancient Rome This is a List of Ancient Rome-related topics, that aims to include aspects of both the Ancient Roman Republic and Roman Empire. ... For other uses, see Native Americans (disambiguation). ... Mediæval Britain is a term used to suggest that there is a unity to the history of Great Britain from the 5th centurys withdrawal of Roman forces and Germanic invasions until the 16th century Reformations in Scotland and England. ... This article is about the decade starting in 1900 and ending in 1909. ... This article is about the decade of 2000-2009. ... is the death of infants in the first year of life. ... Miscarriage or spontaneous abortion is the natural or spontaneous end of a pregnancy at a stage where the embryo or the fetus is incapable of surviving, generally defined in humans at a gestation of prior to 20 weeks. ... An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. ...

Variations in life expectancy in the world today

There are great variations in life expectancy worldwide, mostly caused by differences in public health, medicine and nutrition from country to country. Public health is the study and practice of addressing threats to the health of a community. ...

There are also variations between groups within single countries. Significant differences still remain in life expectancy between men and women in France and other developed countries, with women outliving men by five years or more. These gender differences have been lessening in recent years, with men's life expectancy improving at a faster rate than women's.[citation needed] In France, significant differences in life expectancy between different racial and ethnic groups have persisted, though they have lessened somewhat. Poverty, in particular, has a very substantial effect on life expectancy. In the United Kingdom life expectancy in the wealthiest areas is ten years longer than the poorest areas and the gap appears to be increasing as life expectancy for the prosperous continues to increase while in more deprived communities there is little increase.[16] World map indicating Human Development Index (as of 2004). ...

Life expectancy may also be reduced for people exposed to high levels of highway air pollution[citation needed] or industrial air pollution. Occupation may also have a major effect on life expectancy. Well-educated professionals working in offices have a high life expectancy, while coal miners (and in prior generations, asbestos cutters) do not. Other factors affecting an individual's life expectancy are genetic disorders, obesity, access to health care, diet, exercise, tobacco smoking, and excessive drug and alcohol use. Roadway air dispersion is applied to highway segments Roadway air dispersion modeling is the study of air pollutant transport from a roadway or other linear emitter. ... Air pollution is the human introduction into the atmosphere of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or damage the environment. ... The cigarette is the most common method of smoking tobacco. ...

As pointed out above, AIDS has recently had a negative effect on life expectancy, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. For other uses, see AIDS (disambiguation). ...

Evolution and aging rate

The different lifespans of different plants and animals, including humans, raises the question of why such lifespans are found.

The evolutionary theory is that organisms that are able by virtue of their defenses or lifestyle to live for long periods whilst avoiding accidents, disease, predation etc. are likely to have genes that code for slow aging- good repair.

This is so because if a change to the organism (for example a bird might evolve stronger wings) may mean that it is exceptionally capable of escaping from predation, then it will live longer, and typically die of old age. It will also be more likely to survive to reproduce, so these genes will spread through the gene pool. Thus, a member of the population with the better wings who by chance also has genes that code for better repair will spend a longer time than its contemporaries in the best reproductive years and have more successors. Its genes will tend to dominate more and more of the gene pool and genes for slower aging and by a similar argument a slower reproduction rate, will dominate. For other uses, see Gene (disambiguation). ...

Conversely a change to the environment that means that organisms die younger from a common disease or a new threat from a predator will mean that organisms that have genes that code for putting more energy into reproduction than repair will do better. For other uses, see Reproduction (disambiguation) Reproduction is the biological process by which new individual organisms are produced. ...

The support for this theory includes the fact that better defended animals, for example small birds that can fly away from danger live for a decade or more whereas mice which cannot, die of old age in a year or two. Tortoises and turtles are very well defended indeed and can live for over a hundred years. A classic study comparing opossums on a protected island with unprotected opossums also supports this theory.[citation needed]

But there are also counterexamples, suggesting that there is more to the story. Guppies in predator-free habitats evolve shorter life spans than nearby populations of guppies where predators exact a large toll. A broad survey of mammals indicates many more exceptions. The theory of evolution of aging may be in flux. For other uses, see Guppy (disambiguation). ... Why do almost all living things weaken and die with age? There is not yet agreement in the academic community on a single answer. ...

Another main counterexample is that the evolutionary traits best for short term survival may be detrimental to long term survival. For example, a hummingbird's extremely fast wings allow it to escape from predators and to find mates, assuring that the genetic trait for fast wings is passed on, explained by natural selection. However, these fast wings can be detrimental to the hummingbird's long term health, as the wings consume vast amounts of Adenosine triphosphate (cellular energy molecules) and cause the bird's heart to deteriorate with permanent and long-term wear. This allows for hummingbirds to effectively survive and reproduce, however as a result, hummingbirds usually die shortly after reproducing. For other uses, see Hummingbird (disambiguation). ... This article is about the general scientific term. ... For other uses, see Natural selection (disambiguation). ... Adenosine 5-triphosphate (ATP) is a multifunctional nucleotide that is most important as a molecular currency of intracellular energy transfer. ... The heart and lungs, from an older edition of Grays Anatomy. ...

Short term survival traits are usually those that are most commonly passed on in natural selection. However, humans with technology have prioritized their traits to improve long term survival, as they have already developed short term survival to a significant extent by ensuring their dominance of the food chain. This is known as artificial selection. For other uses, see Natural selection (disambiguation). ... This Chihuahua mix and Great Dane show the wide range of dog breed sizes created using artificial selection. ...

Sex differences in life expectancy

If one does not consider the many women who die while giving birth or in pregnancy, the female human life expectancy is considerably higher than those of men, who, on average, consume more tobacco, alcohol and drugs than females in most societies. In most countries many more men than women commit suicide. In general, men are more likely to be murdered. In wars, many men die in combat as soldiers. Men tend to take more risks than females when driving. [2] Shredded tobacco leaf for pipe smoking Tobacco can also be pressed into plugs and sliced into flakes Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the fresh leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Drug (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Suicide (disambiguation). ...

There is significantly more research and awareness for women's health than men's health. For example there are seven breast cancer drugs for every one prostate cancer drug. In respect to US federal funding, there is twice as much money dedicated breast cancer than to prostate cancer. [3] The United States has an office dedicated to women's health while there is not one for men. The situation is mirrored in other industrialized countries. Womens health generally refers to health issues and matters specific to human female anatomy. ... Mens Health (MH), published by Rodale Press in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, USA, is the largest circulation mens lifestyle magazine in the world. ...

Some argue that shorter male life expectancy is merely another manifestation of the general rule, in all mammal species, that larger individuals tend on average to have shorter lives. [4][17] If small body size is a result of poor nutrition and not of genetics, then the rule is the other way around: better nourished people are taller and live longer. [5]

Small dog breeds like poodles and dachshunds can reach 15 years of age, while the big breeds like German shepherds seldom reach 10 years of age. [6]

However, the difference between male and female expectancies varies significantly between countries. For example, men outlive women in Afghanistan, Lesotho, Swaziland and Niger, while at the other extreme Russian women outlive men by 13.6 years.

Lower life expectancy in people with serious mental illness

Persons with serious Mental illness die, on average, 25 years earlier than the general public. A mental illness or mental disorder refers to one of many mental health conditions characterized by distress, impaired cognitive functioning, atypical behavior, emotional dysregulation, and/or maladaptive behavior. ...

Mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. Three out of five mentally ill die from mostly preventable physical diseases. Diseases such as Heart/Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, Dyslipidaemia, Respiratory ailments, Pneumonia, Influenza. Cardiovascular disease refers to the class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels (arteries and veins). ... This article is about the disease that features high blood sugar. ... Hypercholesterolemia (literally: high blood cholesterol) is the presence of high levels of cholesterol in the blood. ... This article is about human pneumonia. ... Flu redirects here. ...

Calculating life expectancies

The starting points for calculating life expectancies is the age-specific death rates of the population members. For example, if 10% of a group of people alive at their 90th birthday die before their 91st birthday, then the age-specific death rate at age 90 would be 10%. 2003 US mortality table, Table 1, Page 1 In actuarial science, a life table (also called a mortality table or actuarial table) is a table which shows, for a person at each age, what the probability is that they die before their next birthday. ...

These values are then used to calculate a life table, from which one can calculate the probability of surviving to each age. In actuarial notation 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!. 2003 US mortality table, Table 1, Page 1 In actuarial science, a life table (also called a mortality table or actuarial table) is a table which shows, for a person at each age, what the probability is that they die before their next birthday. ... Actuarial notation is a shorthand method to allow actuaries to record mathematical formulas that deal with interest rates and life tables. ...

The life expectancy at age x, denoted ,e_x!, is then calculated by adding up the probabilities to survive to every age. This is the expected number of complete years lived (one may think of it as the number of birthdays they celebrate).

e_x =sum_{t=1}^{infty},_tp_x = sum_{t=0}^{infty}t ,_tp_x q_{x+t}

Because age is rounded down to the last birthday, on average people live half a year beyond their final birthday, so half a year is added to the life expectancy to calculate the full life expectancy.

Life expectancy is by definition an arithmetic mean. It can be calculated also by integrating the survival curve from ages 0 to positive infinity (the maximum lifespan, sometimes called 'omega'). For an extinct cohort (all people born in year 1850, for example), of course, it can simply be calculated by averaging the ages at death. For cohorts with some survivors it is estimated by using mortality experience in recent years. In mathematics and statistics, the arithmetic mean (or simply the mean) of a list of numbers is the sum of all the members of the list divided by the number of items in the list. ... For other meanings see cohort In statistics and demography, a cohort is a group of subjects — most often humans from a given population — defined by a condition on their date of birth. ...

Note that no allowance has been made in this calculation for expected changes in life expectancy in the future. Usually when life expectancy figures are quoted, they have been calculated like this with no allowance for expected future changes. This means that quoted life expectancy figures are not generally appropriate for calculating how long any given individual of a particular age is expected to live, as they effectively assume that current death rates will be "frozen" and not change in the future. Instead, life expectancy figures can be thought of as a useful statistic to summarize the current health status of a population. Some models do exist to account for the evolution of mortality (e.g., the Lee-Carter model[18]).

See also

Biodemography (bio ∙ demography [bio-di-mog-ruh-fee] - noun) is the science dealing with the integration of biology and demography. ... See also Negative calorie diet, very low calorie diet CRON redirects here. ... Map of countries by population Population growth showing projections for later this century Demography is the statistical study of all populations. ... Face-to-face trading interactions on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. ... Indefinite lifespan is a term used in the life extension movement to refer to the longevity of humans (and other lifeforms) under conditions in which aging can be effectively and completely prevented and treated. ... 2003 US mortality table, Table 1, Page 1 In actuarial science, a life table (also called a mortality table or actuarial table) is a table which shows, for a person at each age, what the probability is that they die before their next birthday. ... This article is under construction. ... Maximum life span is a measure of the maximum number of years a member of a group has been observed to survive. ... Medieval demography is the study of human demography in Europe during the Middle Ages. ... Crude death rate by country Mortality rate is a measure of the number of deaths (in general, or due to a specific cause) in some population, scaled to the size of that population, per unit time. ... In biology, senescence is the combination of processes of deterioration which follow the period of development of an organism. ...

Increasing life expectancy

Engineered negligible senescence refers to an engineered prevention or reversal of cellular aging (referred to as senescence in biology). ... John Sperling (1921-) is a US billionaire who is credited with leading the contemporary for-profit education movement in the United States. ... Life extension refers to an increase in maximum or average lifespan, especially in humans, by slowing down or reversing the processes of aging. ... Longevity is a term that generally refers to long life or great duration of life.[1] Reflections on longevity have usually gone beyond acknowledging the basic shortness of human life and have included thinking about methods to extend life. ... Rejuvenation is the procedure of reversing the aging process, thus regaining youth. ...


  1. ^ Galor, Oded and Moav, Omer, "Natural Selection and the Evolution of Life Expectancy" (October 12, 2005). Minerva Center for Economic Growth Paper No. 02-05 http://ssrn.com/abstract=563741
  2. ^ Health warning over Russian youth
  3. ^ CDC Links Extra Pounds, Lower Death Risk, Associated Press, April 20, 2005.
  4. ^ Hillard Kaplan, et. al, in "A Theory of Human Life History Evolution: Diet, Intelligence,weed knowledge and Longevity" (Evolutionary Anthropology, 2000, p. 156-185, - http://www.soc.upenn.edu/courses/2003/spring/soc621_iliana/readings/kapl00d.pdf
  5. ^ Caspari & Lee 'Older age becomes common late in human evolution' (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 2004, p. 10895-10900
  6. ^ James Trefil, "Can We Live Forever?" 101 Things You Don't Know About Science and No One Else Does Either (1996)
  7. ^ Average Life Expectancy at Birth
  8. ^ Life expectancy (sociology)
  9. ^ University of Wyoming
  10. ^ Pre-European Exploration, Prehistory through 1540
  11. ^ Time traveller's guide to Medieval Britain
  12. ^ A millennium of health improvement
  13. ^ World Health Organization
  14. ^ Our Special Place in History
  15. ^ World Bank - http://www.worldbank.org/depweb/english/modules/social/life/index.html
  16. ^ Department of Health -Tackling health inequalities: Status report on the Programme for Action
  17. ^ Samaras, Thomas T. und Heigh, Gregory H.: How human size affects longevity and mortality from degenerative diseases. Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients 159: 78-85, 133-139
  18. ^ Ronald D. Lee and Lawrence Carter. 1992. "Modeling and Forecasting the Time Series of U.S. Mortality," Journal of the American Statistical Association 87 (September): 659-671.

Oded Galor is an Israeli economist. ... is the 285th day of the year (286th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Further reading

  • Leonid A. Gavrilov & Natalia S. Gavrilova (1991), The Biology of Life Span: A Quantitative Approach. New York: Harwood Academic Publisher, ISBN 3-7186-4983-7

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