Expected age at death at various ages

April 25, 2009

The chart below shows the progression over time (1900-2005) of the expected age at death for Americans at various ages. Each line shows the expected age at death for a person at a specific age (10 year intervals, except for the dashed line, corresponding to age 1 year).

Data: National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 51, No. 3, The 2009 Statistical Abstract, Table 103.

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4 Responses to “Expected age at death at various ages”

  1. RZ Says:

    Interesting, there is a plateau for children in the 60’s. I wonder how the spread around the expected age behaves.

  2. yoramgat Says:

    The data for the distribution is available at the data sources I cited. I think, however, that the general trend is apparent in the chart above: in 1900 it used to be common to die at an early age – especially in the first year of life, but even after surviving the first year, dying young was not uncommon. This risk was reduced dramatically by 1950, resulting in a 20 year increase in longevity. During those 50 years, mortality at old age hardly changed.

    On the other hand, most of the increase in longevity since 1950 (about 8 years) can be attributed to decreased mortality at old age (above age 70).

  3. RZ Says:

    Since anybody who was born in the 50’s is younger than 70, the results must be based on projections, so the increase in longevity, at least for relatively young people, might be misleading.

  4. yoramgat Says:

    Life expectancy in any given year is calculated based on mortality rates in that year – see description at Calculating life expectancies.

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