At 100 Year Lifestyle we are all about helping you live a long and healthy life. A big part of that commitment includes sharing information and putting into proper perspective some of what you read in the media. For example, whenever a new study comes out regarding life expectancy it makes the news. But what are those studies really referring to? Is life expectancy in the US really your life expectancy? And if life expectancy is dropping then how can centenarians continue to be one of the fastest growing groups?
Simply put, life expectancy is the number of years a person can expect to live. There are two ways these calculations can be made (by statisticians), either based on cohort life expectancy or period life expectancy. Cohort calculations are based on age-specific probabilities of death and are based on observed mortality rates for past years as well as projections about mortality rates for the particular cohort in future years. Period life expectancy is more commonly used, and like cohort uses mortality rates for one or more years and applies those rates throughout the remainder of a person’s life. Period life does not, however, project mortality rates or look at changes over time as does the cohort life expectancy.
However, regardless of the calculations—life expectancy numbers are always an average. They are the combined ages at death of people who died at an extremely young age averaged with those who lived a much longer life than the rest of the group. For populations where there is a high rate of infant mortality but a large population of centenarians, neither group, nor that population as a whole, will be clearly represented by life expectancy figures for that group.
This realization opens the door to understanding the variety of factors that affect our health and our longevity, and the recent headlines. According to PBS and based on U.S. Census data:
The number of centenarians in the U.S. grew from over 53,000 in 2010 to over 90,000 in 2020. By 2030, there will most likely be over 130,000 centenarians in the U.S. By 2060 there will be over 603,000.
That’s what we’re talking about! Your 100 Year Lifestyle awaits! Living the 100 Year Lifestyle, planning for your healthiest years, matters more than ever because longevity is your birthright!
We know that centenarians are a growing group and we understand how they can continue to grow while the headlines report a decrease in life expectancy. But what is causing the increased number of deaths at younger ages? Is it specifically the number of deaths that have been attributed to COVID that are bringing down our life expectancy? The answer to that is no. The latest statistics attribute 606,000 total deaths due to COVID in the US to date according to the Our World In Data website.
However, a March 2020 article entitled, “The Role of Alcohol, Drugs, and Deaths of Despair in the U.S.’s Falling Life Expectancy,” outlined the myriad of factors leading to early death and, therefore, contributing to lowered life expectancy rates in the US pre-COVID. Those included:
- Fatal drug overdoses highlighted by the opioid crisis
- Alcohol related deaths including deaths from alcoholic liver disease
- Increase in hypertensive disease rates
- Suicide (particularly increasing among young children and teens)
- Past history of smoking
- Economic factors
- Lack of equal access to health care
This list of contributing factors is long and represents many serious issues in our society that are affecting our population—our communities, our friends, our family members. We need to be aware of them and to make changes. However, this decrease in calculated life expectancy doesn’t affect every member of our population but rather reflects trends in segments of the population.
Lack of understanding of terms and lack of clarity in using them are creating fear among people and fostering the belief that “there is nothing they can do” when it comes to the quality and quantity of their life. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Understanding what is happening around you, particularly when it comes to your health and longevity, is more important now than ever. The number of centenarians is growing! Start preparing now by calculating your longevity potential, educate yourself about longevity principles, and start building your team to help you thrive in the years to come!