Menstuff® has compiled information on the issue of Mortality. According to the American Academy of Actuaries, the average 65 year-old man can expect to live to 84, 87 for women. About 58% of couples age 65 will have at least one partner live to 90 and 28% will have one partner live to 95. And these are merely averages - half of all people will live less than average, half will live longer than average.

American Life Expectancy Rises for First Time in Four Years
Life Expectancy Hits New High - 2005
Why Do Women Live Longer than Men?
Women Set to Outlive Men Worldwide
15 Major Causes of Death
Male Mortality Rate Higher Than Female Rate in Almost All Species
Americans Living Longer, but More Infants Are Dying
Dwindling List of Countries Where Life Expectancy Is Greater for Me

Life expectancy variation over time
Humans by Era
Average Lifespan at Birth (years)

Upper Paleolithic


33 At age 15: 39 (to age 54)



Bronze Age and Iron Age


Classical Greece


Classical Rome


Pre-Columbian North America


Medieval Islamic Caliphate


Medieval Britain


Early Modern Britain


Early 20th Century


Current world average


2010 est.


American Life Expectancy Rises for First Time in Four Years

Life expectancy increased for the first time in four years in 2018, the federal government said Thursday, raising hopes that a benchmark of the nation’s health may finally be stabilizing after a rare and troubling decline that was driven by a surge in drug overdoses.

Life expectancy is the most basic measure of the health of a society, and declines in developed countries are extremely unusual. But the United States experienced one from 2015 to 2017 as the opioid epidemic took its toll, worrying demographers who had not seen an outright decline since 1993, during the AIDS epidemic. An uptick in what have become known as “deaths of despair” — younger people dying from overdoses, suicide and alcoholism — has drawn considerable attention from politicians and policymakers.

The 2018 data, released in a report on Thursday, confirmed the first decline in drug deaths in 28 years, an important improvement after decades of rises.

The increase in life expectancy it helped produce was small — just over a month — and demographers cautioned that it was too early to tell if the country had turned the corner with opioid overdoses, which have claimed nearly 500,000 lives since the late 1990s.

“It’s good news, but we don’t know yet if it’s the beginning of a new trend,” said Elizabeth Arias, a demographer at the National Center for Health Statistics, which released the report.

Still, the rise was welcome news in states like Ohio, which in 2018 had the biggest decline in overdose deaths in the country.

“It’s literally like coming out of a fog,” said Andrew Wright, 34, who has been drug-free since August 2018, when he entered treatment at the Counseling Center in Portsmouth, Ohio. Medicaid, the government insurance program, covered his care. “It’s like I’m 22 and I’ve finally made it out of my parents’ house, embracing life for the first time. I’m learning how to live.”

The last time life expectancy in the United States flatlined for several years was in the 1960s, when the mass habit of smoking, particularly among men, began showing up in the mortality statistics, said Dr. Samuel Preston, a demographer at the University of Pennsylvania. But from 1968 to 2010, life expectancy went up by an average of about two years a decade, he said, a substantially slower rate than in European countries, but twice as fast as the increase in 2018.

Life expectancy at birth rose to 78.7 years in 2018 from 78.6 the previous year. It peaked at 78.9 in 2014, but has fallen or been flat since then.

Dr. Preston pointed out that the small rise in 2018 merely put the country back where it was in 2010, amounting to nearly a decade of stagnation, rare for a wealthy country.

Improvements in cancer mortality rates represented the single largest share of the life expectancy gain in 2018, about 30 percent. Next came the decline in so-called unintentional injuries, which include deaths from car accidents and drug overdoses. That category accounted for about 25 percent of the gain, a change that was driven almost entirely by a decline in drug deaths, Dr. Arias said.

Recent widespread efforts to expand access to opioid addiction medications, clean needles and naloxone — the drug used to revive people overdosing on opioids — may be having an impact.

“Good things are happening that hadn’t before, like sheriffs, hospitals and others who now use naloxone telling me, ‘We saved a life,’” said Shane Hudson, president and chief executive of CKF Addiction Treatment in Salina, Kan. His clinic is treating 117 people with medication for opioid addiction, up from 35 two years ago.

ImageWinterfest in Portsmouth, Ohio. Drug overdose deaths fell in 14 states in 2018, with Ohio reporting the biggest drop, to 3,980 from 5,111 in 2017.

Winterfest in Portsmouth, Ohio. Drug overdose deaths fell in 14 states in 2018, with Ohio reporting the biggest drop, to 3,980 from 5,111 in 2017.Credit...Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

Deaths from overdoses dropped by 4.1 percent in 2018, to 67,367 from 70,237 in 2017. The decrease was largely driven by a dip in deaths from prescription opioid painkillers, which set off the opioid epidemic in the late 1990s before heroin and, later, fentanyl moved in. Provisional data suggests those deaths continued to fall in 2019, likely in part because of restrictions on prescribing.

But the death rate from fentanyl rose by 10 percent in 2018, and early data suggests it kept rising last year, though not as sharply as before. There were more overdose deaths in 2018 than in any year on record except 2017, and nearly 70 percent involved opioids.

A separate federal report, also released Thursday, found that the rate of drug overdose deaths dropped in 14 states in 2018, climbed in five and stayed about the same in the rest. The five states whose rates climbed were California, Delaware, Missouri, New Jersey and South Carolina. Ohio saw the biggest drop, to 3,980 overdose deaths in 2018 from 5,111 in 2017.

With the fentanyl death rate still climbing, along with deaths involving cocaine and psychostimulants like methamphetamine, it is not clear whether the overall drop will be sustained.

Mr. Wright, of Delaware, Ohio, developed an opioid addiction when he was 23, starting with prescription pills and moving to heroin. He said he spent years, on and off, sleeping in his car, under bridges and on his parents’ screened porch in the winter under a table so his father wouldn’t see him.

But he has now stayed off drugs for the longest period in his adult life, he said, a fact he attributes to his treatment program together with a change in the attitudes of the people in his town. A small grooming products company, Doc Spartan, hired him to make beard oil and grenade-shaped soap. Someone sold him a cheap car. Others helped him start sorting out his life — getting driver’s license, dealing with his unpaid bills and getting treatment for hepatitis C.

“I literally feel like I’m a soldier in this war, and I really like it,” said Mr. Wright, who now works as a trainer at PSKC, a CrossFit gym, and at a halfway house.

Another bright spot in Thursday’s data was cancer mortality. The overall cancer death rate dropped by 2.2 percent in 2018, a substantial decline.

Rebecca Siegel, the scientific director of surveillance research at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, said the new data appeared to extend gains from 2017, when the overall cancer mortality rate drop was the largest since record-keeping began around 1930.

These improvements were driven largely by a decline in the mortality rate for lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death. Continued drops in the country’s smoking rate and advances in treatment, such as more precise tumor classification, better surgical techniques, and improved drug therapies, contributed to the progress, Ms. Siegel said.

Despite this good news, the United States lags far behind most European countries in life expectancy. John Haaga, a demographer who retired from the National Institute on Aging in December, said that when he first started his job in 2004, life expectancy in the United States was about equal to that of Portugal, a much poorer country. Over his career, Portugal gained four years while the United States gained only one. He pointed out that life expectancy was longer in Costa Rica, Cuba and Slovenia.

The increase in life expectancy might have been greater if not for rising mortality due to influenza and pneumonia — the death rate grew by 4.2 percent — as well as suicide and nutritional deficiencies. But while there has been increased concern about suicide as a public health crisis, the growth in reported cases — to 48,344 in 2018 from 47,173 in 2017 — was relatively small. The suicide rate grew by 1.4 percent overall, with a larger rise for men than women.

Jill Harkavy-Friedman, a vice president at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said the nation needed to invest far more in research to understand emerging patterns.

“I’ve been a researcher in this area for 30 years and I can tell you the conversation and the funding has definitely changed,” she said, “but it’s still nowhere near the level of funding for any other public health problem of this scope.”

A federal report last fall found that the suicide rate among adolescents was at its highest level in 20 years, although the total number of teenagers who died by suicide in 2017 was fewer than 2,500. Jane Pearson, chairwoman of the Suicide Research Consortium at the National Institute of Mental Health, said there was no definitive explanation as of yet for the climbing suicide rate.

“We are worried about adolescents in particular showing increases in depression and anxiety, and trying to understand what’s driving all of this,” she said. “We can’t measure a lot of things that we would like to.”

Why Do Women Live Longer than Men?

Says Maxim, "Although guys are stronger and faster than women, women outlive men in most countries, in some cases by more than 10 years. In the US, life expectancy for men and women at birth is about 72 years and 79 years, respectively. Why? For starters, men work dangerous jobs, fight wars, and go to prison - activities not conducive to long lives - far more often than women. We also experience a greater risk of heart disease after age 40, whereas women aren't really at risk until they reach menopause. (Testosterone not only increases cholesterol levels but also causes recklessness that leads both to violence and to impress-your-friends miter-saw accidents.) Still other researchers attribute the difference to stress. "Socially speaking, they are just better coping mechanisms for girls," says Peg Jordan, president of Health & Lifestyle, Inc., in Oakland, CA.

 Male Mortality Rate Higher Than Female Rate in Almost All Species

Mortality rates are higher among males than females in almost all species, including humans, according to a study completed for the Society of Actuaries in Schaumburg, Illinois.

"The pervasiveness of greater male mortality is [found] virtually around the world, at all ages and before birth, and as far back as the 1300s," Seattle-based actuary Barbara Blatt Kalben told Reuters Health. Kalben, a fellow with the Society of Actuaries, completed an extensive 3-year analysis of the causes of the differences between male and female mortality.

Yet today, she notes, greater male mortality is almost universal throughout the world. Kalben cites United Nations Population Fund 1998 figures that show that life expectancy at birth is higher for females than males in 154 countries, with only Nepal showing the opposite trend.

Kalben's research leads her to conclude that there are biological and genetic as well as social, cultural, environmental, and behavioral reasons for the mortality differences between males and females.

Kalben's review of mortality in non-human species including nematodes, crustaceans, mollusks, insects, spiders, reptiles, fish, and primates showed that in almost all species, females have lower mortality rates.

"I don't see the mortality between the sexes becoming equal in the near future," Kalben told Reuters Health. She believes that besides helping actuaries, "this data may also help women understand and plan for the reality of unequal mortality between the sexes."


American Life Expectancy Lags

Residents of Japan, Europe, Jordan, Guam and the Cayman Islands all can expect to live longer than the average American, according to a new federal report on life expectancy trends around the world.

The Associated Press reported Aug. 12 that while U.S. life expectancy is rising, the nation ranked just 42nd worldwide in 2004, down from 11th in 1984. The study blamed obesity, lack of health insurance, and other factors for the trend, noting that other countries have improved their health care, nutrition, and lifestyles.

''Something's wrong here when one of the richest countries in the world, the one that spends the most on health care, is not able to keep up with other countries,'' said Christopher Murray of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Life expectancy in the U.S. in 2004 was 77.9 years. Besides a relatively high infant mortality rate, racial health disparities, lack of health care, and one of the world's highest obesity rates, the U.S. also needs to address the problems of smoking in order to raise its life expectancy back into the top tier, experts said.

US Slipping in Life Expectancy Rankings

Americans are living longer than ever, but not as long as people in 41 other countries.

For decades, the United States has been slipping in international rankings of life expectancy, as other countries improve health care, nutrition and lifestyles.

Countries that surpass the U.S. include Japan and most of Europe, as well as Jordan, Guam and the Cayman Islands.

''Something's wrong here when one of the richest countries in the world, the one that spends the most on health care, is not able to keep up with other countries,'' said Dr. Christopher Murray, head of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

A baby born in the United States in 2004 will live an average of 77.9 years. That life expectancy ranks 42nd, down from 11th two decades earlier, according to international numbers provided by the Census Bureau and domestic numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Andorra, a tiny country in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, had the longest life expectancy, at 83.5 years, according to the Census Bureau. It was followed by Japan, Macau, San Marino and Singapore.

The shortest life expectancies were clustered in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region that has been hit hard by an epidemic of HIV and AIDS, as well as famine and civil strife. Swaziland has the shortest, at 34.1 years, followed by Zambia, Angola, Liberia and Zimbabwe.

Researchers said several factors have contributed to the United States falling behind other industrialized nations. A major one is that 45 million Americans lack health insurance, while Canada and many European countries have universal health care, they say.

But ''it's not as simple as saying we don't have national health insurance,'' said Sam Harper, an epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal. ''It's not that easy.''

Among the other factors:

Forty countries, including Cuba, Taiwan and most of Europe had lower infant mortality rates than the U.S. in 2004. The U.S. rate was 6.8 deaths for every 1,000 live births. It was 13.7 for Black Americans, the same as Saudi Arabia.

''It really reflects the social conditions in which African American women grow up and have children,'' said Dr. Marie C. McCormick, professor of maternal and child health at the Harvard School of Public Health. ''We haven't done anything to eliminate those disparities.''

Another reason for the U.S. drop in the ranking is that the Census Bureau now tracks life expectancy for a lot more countries -- 222 in 2004 -- than it did in the 1980s. However, that does not explain why so many countries entered the rankings with longer life expectancies than the United States.

Murray, from the University of Washington, said improved access to health insurance could increase life expectancy. But, he predicted, the U.S. won't move up in the world rankings as long as the health care debate is limited to insurance.

Policymakers also should focus on ways to reduce cancer, heart disease and lung disease, said Murray. He advocates stepped-up efforts to reduce tobacco use, control blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and regulate blood sugar.

''Even if we focused only on those four things, we would go along way toward improving health care in the United States,'' Murray said. ''The starting point is the recognition that the U.S. does not have the best health care system. There are still an awful lot of people who think it does.''

Census Bureau:
National Center for Health Statistics:


Americans Living Longer

The life expectancy rate is going up, up, up, and your health is in your hands.

Why Women Live Longer than Men

A recent UCLA study indicates that women may live longer than men because they deal with stress differently. According to the study, the body, when it is stressed, triggers a hormone called oxytocin that causes the "fight or flight" response in men. But in women, high estrogen levels may dull the hormone's effects and produce a "tend or befriend" response, an urge to cultivate social ties. And this less confrontational response may lower blood pressure, thus reducing the risk of disease.

Source: Craig Cox,

Scots Still Die Young

Scots are living longer, but their life expectancy is still lower than in England and Wales. Average life expectancy for men in Scotland is 72.8 years and 78 years for women while in England and Wales men are expected to live to 75.1 years and women to 80, according to Professor Phil Hanlon, the director of the Public Health Institute for Scotland.
Source: The Scotsman

U.S. Living Longer, But More Infants Dying Infant Death Rates Caused by Low Birth Rate, Preterm Births

Americans are living longer than ever before -- mostly because homicides are down. But for the first time since 1958, infant death rates are up.

A new CDC report says that in 2002, the U.S. life expectancy reached a new high of 77.4 years, jumping from 77.2 in 2001 -- for both men and women, and for blacks and whites.

Among infants however death rates increased from 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2001 to 7.0 per 1,000 in 2002. The increase in death rates is in infants within the first week of life, or within the first 28 days of life.

"Factors such as low birth weight, preterm births, and multiple births all increase the risk of infant death," said Edward Sondik, director of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

But there was some good news:

Deaths from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) declined between 2001 and 2002, continuing a long-term downward trend.

Fewer late-term fetal deaths occurred. These are births defined as 28 or more weeks of gestation.

Death rates for the total U.S. population decreased slightly in 2002:

In 2001, there were 855 deaths per 100,000 people; in 2002, there were 847 deaths per 100,000.

Death rates declined in most racial, ethnic, and gender groups. Only deaths among American Indians (both males and females) and non-Hispanic white females were unchanged from 2001.

Death rates from heart disease and stroke, the nations leading cause of death, declined by 3% each.

Deaths caused by accidents and unintentional injuries were down by 2%, and deaths from cancer dropped by 1%.

Homicide rates declined by 17% -- the biggest decline among all of the leading causes of death. If deaths from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are not included, the decrease was 3%, which still reflects a continuing downward trend in homicides that began in 1991.

The number of HIV/AIDS related deaths has continued to decline, by 2% between 2001 and 2002. Since 1995, HIV deaths have decreased some 70%. However, HIV remains the fifth leading cause of death for people aged 25 to 44.

Death rates increased for some leading causes of death: Alzheimer's deaths were up 6%, influenza and pneumonia deaths were up 3%, high blood pressure deaths were up 3%, and blood poisoning deaths were up 3%.

The new death rate report is based on more than 96% of state death certificates issued in 2002. CDC also collects annual data from birth records, which document recent trends in low birth weight, cesarean and induced deliveries, and preterm and multiple births -- all factors that can impact infant health.
Source: , Jeanie Lerche Davis, CDC.

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Old and young, we are all on our last cruise. - Robert Louis Stevenson

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