Life Expectancy Plunges! … or Does It?

Guest Essay by Kip Hansen – 23 July 2021

The media is alive with the shocking news that “U.S. Life Expectancy Plunged in 2020, Especially for Black and Hispanic Americans”.  And, amazingly, this is not fake news, it is actually true-ish.  Yes, true-ish – as in sorta true — but it does not mean what you think it means.

The man-or-woman-on-the-street, and maybe readers here,  probably thinks that the “life expectancy” mentioned in the headlines really means how long a person can expect to live – as it might apply to themselves or their children.  But, of course, that is not what it really means at all.

The metric “Life Expectancy at Birth” (LE@B) – is a statistical creature,  a construct which is well-defined in the world of national vital statistics  but just not really very relatable to the lives of individuals.  Here’s the shocking graph on which the headlines are based:

Gee, just look at that drop from 2019 to 2020!  The New York Times says that “The 18-month drop, the steepest decline since World War II, was fueled by the coronavirus pandemic.”   And, by the way, for non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks, fueled an increase in drug overdoses (assumed to be unintentional).   Now, the chart and the numbers are “only a snapshot in time of the general health of a population: If an American child was born today and lived an entire life under the conditions of 2020, that child would be expected to live 77.3 years, down from 78.8 in 2019.” and “It was the steepest decline in life expectancy in the United States since World War II.”  [source]

But, that is nonsensical – no child born today would, or even could, “live its entire life under the conditions of 2020”.  Life Expectancy at Birth (LE@B) is calculated using a classic and complex statistical model – and thus suffers all the upsides and downsides of models.  The major issue with this statistical model is that it is divorced from reality. 

The logic of these life expectancy numbers is problematic at best.  We know that a lot of people died from and with Covid-19 (and as a result of the measures put in place to fight the pandemic).   Those people died in what is now the past.   This report appears to be about life expectancy in the future in the United States.  That is a misunderstanding. The unusual and extreme number of deaths from Covid occurred in late-2020 (and early-2021) in this country are not continuing in the present and are not expected to continue in the future, they are a past event

Therefore, the cause of the decrease in life expectancy at birth for the year 2020 is in the past and will not affect the length of the future lives children born today.    LE@B will be lowish for 2021 as well, as the peak in Covid deaths runs from November 2020 thru March 2021.

It is almost always wise to get a longer view – to step back and look at a longer time period.

This graph is LE@B from 1860 to present.  Notice the drops at the American Civil War (1865) and the drop at World War I and the Spanish Flu epidemic (~1915-1920).  World War II does not cause a visible drop because this data on this graph is of the averages of the five preceding years. For instance, the figure for 2020 is the average of the metric LE@B for the years 2016 through 2020.    And there at the upper right end of the blue trace is the drop for 2020 in perspective.  Some might find that the word used in many media headlines,  “plunge”,  to be an exaggeration.

Simple everyday logic demands that children born today will not suffer the cause of the drop in the metric LE@B for  2020 or 2021.   Nor, as can be seen in the graph above, did subsequent generations suffer from the horrific loss of life during the American Civil War or the Spanish Flu epidemic.  Children born in 1920, who were assigned a LE@B of about 55 to 56 years, had a real-world life-span that far exceeded that on average.  That born-in-1920-generation consisted of my generation’s parents.  My parents’ generation benefited from all the advances in hygiene, sanitation, health care, medicine and other general social and technical life improvements that took place during their lives – advances that were still in their future when they were born.       

We too, those of us living today, will likewise not suffer the loss-of-life that is now in the past but rather face the totally unknown threats of the future – and will benefit from currently-unknown positive advances in the same factors that increased the lives of our parents.

The touted Life Expectancy at Birth figure for 2020 is not a measure of how long children born today can be expected to live in their futures, but a measure of how long people lived last year.   It is not that past events don’t affect the future, but rather that the metric Life Expectancy at Birth is a measure of past life spans – not a prediction of present or future life spans.

The news about the LE@B figure from the CDC carries this stark statement:  “New federal data draws one of the starkest illustrations to date of how the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately affected Hispanic and Black Americans, showing that they suffered a far steeper drop in life expectancy in 2020 than white Americans.” and “From 2019 to 2020, Hispanic people experienced the greatest drop in life expectancy — three years — and Black Americans saw a decrease of 2.9 years. White people experienced the smallest decline, of 1.2 years.” [ source ]  

Half of that is true and half of it is a fantasy.

The Covid pandemic took the lives of a lot of people, and a lot of them were classified as black and Hispanic.  Whether those numbers were “disproportionate” I will gladly leave up to the epidemiologists and the statisticians.  But living black and Hispanic people neither “suffered” or “experienced” a drop in life expectancy.  It is only that the metric called LE@B changed for those two groups more than it changed for the group classified as non-Hispanic white.  The same is true for males versus females in general, with the LE@B metric moving more in a negative direction for males than females.  The most significant disproportionate effect of the Covid pandemic was that of deaths by age.  95% of deaths were of those over the age of 50.  Only 5% occurred for those under fifty and the majority of that 5% were deaths of people over 40.   American under the age of 40 accounted for only 1% of total deaths.

LE@B in the years just preceding the Covid pandemic was primarily affected by  . . .  drug overdose deaths.

“The overall reduction [in drug overdose deaths for 2018], reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests some possible relief from an epidemic so severe that it has reduced life expectancy in the country.”   In 2018, there were 68,557 drug overdose deaths in the U.S..  In 2019, that figure was back up to 71,000 – 73% of which were caused not by prescription opioids but by a class of drugs called “synthetic opioids” – “These reports indicate that increases in synthetic opioid-involved deaths are being driven by increases in fentanyl-involved overdose deaths, and the source of the fentanyl is more likely to be illicitly manufactured than pharmaceutical.” [ source ]  In 2020, drug overdose deaths rose to nearly 90,000.  [ source ]    To be direct – drug overdose deaths in the United States are caused primarily by illicitly manufactured fentanyl (and fentanyl-analogs) – cheap, compact,  and relatively easy to produce – a white powder easily mixed with white powdered heroin or other powdered drugs like meth or cocaine, in which it is used to increase the “high” attained by users.   Unfortunately, fentanyl is so strong that even a tiny miscalculation in dosage when it is mixed into street drugs can be lethal – thus the increased number of overdose deaths.

Over the last few decades, increases in LE@B are credited to improved health care, drops in infant mortality (through improved prenatal care and improved techniques in dealing with premature births), and increased cancer-related survival. 

Bottom Lines:

1.  The Covid-19 pandemic caused a lot of deaths – both in the United States and around the world, similar to past influenza pandemics.  Worse than the Asian Influenza pandemic of the late 1950s which killed 1.1 million worldwide and 116,000 Americans and the Avian Influenza pandemic of 1968 which had similar death numbers.   Not as bad as the 1918-1920 Spanish Influenza pandemic. [ source ] Nothing in comparison to the Black Death (75 to 200 million deaths) or the ongoing HIV/AIDs pandemic (35+ million deaths as of 2018).

2.  The Covid-19 pandemic caused deaths in a particular pattern – taking the lives primarily of older people and those with specific serious comorbidities – heart problems, obesity, breathing problems.  Segments of the U.S. population that had a higher incidence of those comorbidities were hit harder.

3.  Deaths caused by the Covid-19 pandemic – from the disease itself, from the additive effects of the disease to other comorbidities, and from the governmental actions intended to address the pandemic – has affected the metric called “Life Expectancy at Birth” – pushing it lower for 2020 than for 2019 (and will probably do so again for the metric for 2021).  This fact will not affect the life spans of the living or the soon-to-be-born in any way.

4.  Coincident with the Covid-19 pandemic is an ever-increasing, ongoing deadly Drug Overdose pandemic which is currently of the same magnitude as previous deadly influenza pandemics such as the Asian and Avian Influenza pandemics, and is now approaching 100,000 deaths per year in the United States.  This pandemic causes sufficient deaths to negatively affect the national metric Life Expectancy at Birth.  The difference is that this pandemic is not over, not ending or fading away but rather is getting worse, year by year.  [ source ]

5.  The Covid-19 pandemic will not be the last coronavirus or influenza pandemic.  It will not be the last deadly epidemic to sweep the world.   The future will throw up new and novel pathogens capable of sickening and killing human beings by the thousands and millions.  There is no escaping this aspect of life on Earth. 

6.  Be of good cheer – despite the problems of the day, things are getting better.  See:  “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think”.

# # # # #

Author’s Comment:

In all things that involve numbers offered by scientists, governments, advocacy groups, the media and almost anyone else, it is increasingly important to know “What exactly are they really counting?”.

If you don’t really really know the answer to that question then my best advice is do one of two things: 

1.  Ignore the number altogether – this is by far the easiest approach and will not cause you any harm. 

or

2.  Dig in and find out for yourself.  This is the better approach.  Not everyone has the time,  the inclination or the ability.  It is often not easy as the answer to “What exactly are they really counting?” is often intentionally obscured by those who are creating and promulgating the number. (ref: Climate Science and many other scientific and social fields.)

We are all “just doing the best we can” (or, should be in any case). 

Thanks for reading. 

Read More, Read Widely, Read Critically.

# # # # #

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Tom Halla
July 23, 2021 6:14 pm

As an example of just how artificial the life expectancy at birth number is, my parents were born in the early 1920’s, with a predicted life expectancy of their early 60’s, but died at 75 and 78. In some eras, life expectancy at 5 would matter more, as if one survived early childhood diseases, one might live into one’s 60’s.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 23, 2021 6:58 pm

Kip,I have seen claims that much of the difference in infant mortality between Europe and the US is due to different standards as to what defines a live birth v. A stillbirth.

josh scandlen
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 25, 2021 5:45 am

Kinda like Cuba and the “fact” it has high literacy and low infant mortality!
I literally can’t believe how many lefties fall for this.

Jim Whelan
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 25, 2021 8:44 am

Which further emphasizes the Author’s Comment at the end of the piece.

Drake
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 23, 2021 8:22 pm

I have seen the same, and also that they do not count babies born very premature that die shortly after birth, ones often saved in the US.

Steve45
Reply to  Drake
July 24, 2021 12:49 am

Yes I’m sure it’s all a liberal conspiracy that those 39 other countries have better life expectancies than yours. Or maybe it’s because you’re a nation of fat diabetic druggies?

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Steve45
July 24, 2021 6:02 am

I take it the 45 refers to your IQ.

John Endicott
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
July 26, 2021 4:55 am

I take it the 45 refers to your IQ.”

You aren’t just trying to play nice, you are being overly generous 😉

Last edited 1 month ago by John Endicott
Drake
Reply to  Steve45
July 24, 2021 3:58 pm

Now Steve, I am not one as David Middleton or Kip or Willis, or Rud, all of whom I greatly admire BTW, who will dig through the laws of the nations of Europe to find all their regulations regarding when a birth is considered a LIVE birth, then counted as a death if the baby dies.

I KNOW in the US that after a baby is born alive (not counting when it is an “abortion” procedure, you know, where Obama and democrats, including the governor of VA, a “doctor”, allow the baby to be left to die or be killed), even if it dies 10 minutes later it is counted as a live birth and a death.

I have seen it stated that that is not the case in MANY European countries.

Since YOU, Steven, claim to know WHY the 39 countries have a better life expectancy, you can tell me IF any of those countries DO NOT count that baby as a live birth if it dies after one hour, one day, one week, etc.

I will await your complete review of the regulations of the 29 countries and your apology when you find different countries have different ways to count.

I am patient, take your time, get it right. You might actually learn something.

MeanOnSunday
Reply to  Drake
July 24, 2021 11:51 pm

You are correct about the standards for live births. Of course another factor is the higher rates of underage pregnancies and drug addicted mothers in the US that lead to more premature births. The data is very clear that the chance of survival for a premature baby at any specific gestational age is higher in the US.

It is fair to say that the US has some social problems that worsen health outcomes relative to Europe. Mentally ill and drug addicted homeless receive poor care. But as someone with extensive experience of healthcare in the UK the idea that healthcare is worse in the US is laughable. Everything is delay, rationing and shirking of responsibility. The doctors themselves are just as capable as in US but they are beaten down by the system to the point where many tolerate what a physician in the US would regard as negligent and unethical behavior. Expensive drugs that are freely prescribed to the poorest Medicaid patients in the US are restricted to only a few patients in the UK. I recommend Seamus O’Mahony’s recent book, The Ministry of Bodies.

Drake
Reply to  MeanOnSunday
July 25, 2021 9:00 am

When a physician becomes a slave, with only one choice of who to work for and almost no choice of what you can earn, healthcare cannot be sustained at the highest level.

Yes, in my opinion, national health care systems create a form of slavery for the practitioners.

Hillbillarys healthcare plan, which failed at the time, required that doctors were either in or out. If they accepted cash pay patients, they would have been excluded from the national health care system.

John Dilks
Reply to  Steve45
July 24, 2021 10:34 pm

What is it with the hatred?

josh scandlen
Reply to  John Dilks
July 25, 2021 5:46 am

yeah, that was weird. Dude having a bad day?

Ruleo
Reply to  Drake
July 25, 2021 1:30 pm

A newborn can die up to 2 weeks after birth and it’s not counted to infant mortality.

This, from France.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ruleo
StevenF
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 23, 2021 10:16 pm

I am not sure if this has been changed but in the past Japan did not count a birth as a live birth if the infant died in the first 24 hours.

Drake
Reply to  StevenF
July 25, 2021 9:01 am

Same for Spain until 1975.

Anthony
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 24, 2021 12:29 am

There are always many reasons but you could add that most births in Europe are actually free ( the odd one goes private) Without the stain of having to find cash, maybe that helps as well….

starzmom
Reply to  Anthony
July 24, 2021 5:37 am

Then there is the discussion of whether or not government funded/rationed health care is in fact better than health care contracted for by the recipient.

Drake
Reply to  Anthony
July 25, 2021 9:05 am

Births in the US are FREE, just show up to the emergency room and the mother and child will receive full care, up to and including neonatal care in general exceeding the quality in Europe.

An informed illegal can even make sure they show up to the hospital with the best NiCu in town to get the immediate best care, something a woman with health insurance and doctor could not, in general, do.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 24, 2021 6:04 am

According to a doctor I know, more problem pregnancies make it to birth in the US than in European countries because of the heath care priorities. Plus, the same drug infested culture that contributes overdoses contributes to infant mortality.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 23, 2021 6:50 pm

If I remember correctly the LE@B actually only considers those who survive their first year because infant mortality is so high. Furthermore, the improvement in life expectancy from 40 years in 1860 to almost 80 years currently, largely reflects the eradication of childhood diseases that formerly took a large percentage of children. Look at the ages on the headstones of a 19th C graveyard! Those who made it past childhood, and military age for men and childbearing years for women, tended to live at least as long as adults do today.

An actuarial table, which shows the estimated number of years left in a person’s life, is probably a better metric than the average life expectancy at ‘birth.’

commieBob
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 23, 2021 7:58 pm

Here’s a link that reflects what I have seen in other places.

During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, an increase in life expectancy was driven mainly by improvements in sanitation, housing, and education, causing a steady decline in early and mid-life mortality, which was chiefly due to infections. This trend continued with the development of vaccines and then antibiotics. By the latter half of the twentieth century, there was little room for further reduction in early and mid-life mortality. The continuing increase is due almost entirely to a new phenomenon: the decline in late-life mortality.

In the developed world, there has very little change in early life mortality since around 1950. It’s a low number and improving it a lot wouldn’t change the life expectancy at birth very much.

It’s true that lots of people have lived to a ripe old age in times past. It’s also true that lots of people died surprisingly young. Casually browsing gravestones isn’t a very rigorous statistical method.

Here’s a wonderful statistic. The number of centenarians is increasing. link Good news for those of us who enjoy life.

AndyHce
Reply to  commieBob
July 23, 2021 10:32 pm

The number of people reaching retirement age is increasing. Therefore the pool of people who have a chance of growing older still is larger. Is there any evidence that the percentage of those who get that far today have a greater life expectancy, from that age, than those who managed to live that long a hundred years, or several hundred years, ago? Is there any real evidence of an increase in absolute length of human life.

Intelligent Dasein
Reply to  AndyHce
July 23, 2021 11:39 pm

No.

starzmom
Reply to  AndyHce
July 24, 2021 6:13 am

Try buying long term care insurance now. The prices are very high, because more people who bought it before used it, and maxed out the benefits–something the actuarials didn’t figure on. Now with more information, they are making it much harder for us younger people to buy it.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  AndyHce
July 24, 2021 7:50 pm

In a book written by Harrison Brown, The Future of Mankind, he provides an actuarial table for women from 100 AD to the 1950s, when the book was written. His data indicate that a woman living in North Africa in 100 AD who reached the age of 70 had a greater chance of living longer than an American woman of the same age.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 25, 2021 3:45 pm

Kip,
Since the Infinite Improbability Drive is yet to be invented, probability is all we have to work with! 🙂

josh scandlen
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 25, 2021 6:17 am

I tried looking this up. Looks like it’s actually titled “The Challenge of Man’s Future”.

However, given who the author’s biggest proponent is, none other than John Holdren, I have big hesitation if I am to read it.

josh scandlen
Reply to  josh scandlen
July 25, 2021 6:19 am
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  josh scandlen
July 25, 2021 3:43 pm

Yes, my imperfect memory has clearly failed me again!

Be careful that you don’t suffer from a self-inflicted ad hominem! Consider the facts presented and reach your own conclusions. If you disagree with Brown’s conclusions, so be it. However, if you never read it, you will not have the opportunity to be exposed to the facts, such as the actuarial graph.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  commieBob
July 24, 2021 12:17 am

During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, an increase in life expectancy was driven mainly by improvements in sanitation, housing, and education,

OK, apart from sanitation, housing, and education, what have fossil fuels ever done for us?
H/T Monty Python’s Life of Brian

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  commieBob
July 24, 2021 7:46 pm

It looks to me that the increase in centenarians is paralleling the increase in population. That is, the centenarians per capita is probably not increasing.

My sense is that those who make it to retirement age are now suffering diseases of age such as cancer, diabetes, strokes, etc. that weren’t formerly as common because of better diet, less obesity, and fewer chemicals for which we have little previous exposure to provide immunity.

Philo
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 27, 2021 12:15 pm

I think you’re summary: “those who make it to retirement age are now suffering diseases of age such as cancer, diabetes, strokes, etc. that weren’t formerly as common because of better diet, less obesity, and fewer chemicals…
Cancer, diabetes, strokes, etc. were simply untreatable and killed people before they turned fifty. Those who grew older were simply lucky and also had the means to avoid the worst causes of death.

Prior to about 1950 all the major causes of death: poor diet, very poor health support, untreatable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, many viral infections, bubonic plague, broken bones, poisoning of various sorts at work, minor wound infections, measles, chicken pox, small pox, and more caused people die before age 50.

Medical knowledge had very slowly through the years gotten a better understanding of disease and healthcare and had started to find preventives or functional drugs and treatments, the simplest of which was basic sanitation.

By 1950 the drug revolution was well on its way and more people started to survive to old age.

niceguy
Reply to  Philo
July 30, 2021 6:39 pm

And after 1950 children would get measles, chicken pox, pumps, etc. and not die for it, with so few exception that it wouldn’t affect the lifetime expectancy (still sad for the parents, duh).
Since you so called “conservative” Americans (who can’t get to watch a 60ties sit come to fact check how childhood diseases were considered by society) felt for the vaccine scam, you have what you deserve with the COVID scam.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 24, 2021 12:31 am

In research into my family tree one thing stands out. Bearing in mind lack of data before the late 18th century. Two or three surviving children was the norm until the 19th century when survivors increased. After the mid 19th century double figures weren’t unusual. By the mid 20th century it had dropped back to 3 or 4 surviving children with the odd childhood death. Now it’s about 2.
All those that survived lived a long life unless killed in war or an accident or industrial related illness. The 21st century has, so far, reduced the likelihood of those too.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
July 24, 2021 2:56 pm

Mine seems to have a lot of men who had to get remarried because of a wife that died in childbirth.
And more than a few siblings of ancestors who died at pretty much any age.
But what is most noticeable, on my tree, is the huge number of children on my mother’s side of the family.
They were farmers in Pennsylvania Dutch country.
There were some sizable broods on my father’s side as well, and they were decidedly not the rural type.

John Endicott
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
July 26, 2021 5:08 am

Keep in mind, in the 18th century, it was 2 or 3 surviving children out of a larger number of children (for every 2 or 3 that survived there were many that did not IE more children per couple in total). Now it’s about 2 out of a smaller number of children (with more of the children tending to survive, delays in starting families and wider use of birth control – among other factors – results in less children per couple in total).

Last edited 1 month ago by John Endicott
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 24, 2021 8:25 pm

Kip
I used to go to the U. S. Statistical Abstracts for such information. However, they essentially quit publishing it in 2012. When I tried to download an Excel file for 2008, it hung.

This seems to be a good source:
https://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4c6.html

josh scandlen
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 25, 2021 5:50 am

exactly! Note the number of deaths from 60 to 70 are actually quite small. But it progressively gets larger and larger until about 90 only 15% of those that were 60 are still alive.

So, all these people saying we’re going to live until 100 etc. are not looking at facts. They are misleading themselves by thinking Life Expectancy at Birth means anything to them…which of course it does not.

Stevek
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 24, 2021 7:54 am

Interesting. In a way advancing medicine could reduce life expectancy then as say suppose new advancements kept a child with a genetic disease alive past the age of 1. The child would not be expected to live long but getting past age of 1 would then bring down the life expectancy.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 24, 2021 8:49 am

good luck, i have explained this in the past, the people today are NOT living to much older than the old folks 100 years ago……the change in the average as YOU post is due to far fewer deaths very early in life, NOT due to some people living to be 130…..if you average 100 people that all survive their first year of life their average would be over 80 years of life, BUT if you take those same 100 and say 50 of them died early in life then the “average” drops to about 40 or so years even though the people that made it through their early years did live to be over 80……

Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 24, 2021 4:39 pm

sorry dont have any links for common sense……there is NO question far fewer people die before they reach age 1 now than did 100 years ago….it is fact the oldest among us has remained almost unchanged for a very long time = the increase in the average life expectancy is coming from improvements in early life care/childbirth, NOT from a huge number of people living to be 130 years of age.

josh scandlen
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 25, 2021 5:52 am
TonyG
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 25, 2021 9:16 am

Kip, here’s child mortality under 5 for the last 200ish years
https://www.statista.com/statistics/1041693/united-states-all-time-child-mortality-rate/

Philo
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 27, 2021 12:23 pm

The obituary page in a local newspaper. Invariably now, the majority of deaths were of people over 55-60. A smaller number of younger people make up the rest. The number who die under age 5 either had a fatal accident or died of a fatal disease.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Bill Taylor
July 24, 2021 8:04 pm

Bill
We aren’t too far apart in our views. I never said that the maximum life expectancy was increasing much. In fact, probably the opposite is the case.

Instead, a far greater percentage of people are making it through childhood. Far fewer ‘Birthing People’ are dying in child birth, and the mortality of men of military service age has declined significantly. Consider the campaigns of Alexander the Great and Napoleon. During the Second World War, sometimes the death toll in taking a single large Pacific Island was nearly half the total loss of lives for the entire Vietnam War! More than one and a half million soldiers and civilians died in Russia during the Siege of Leningrad.

John Endicott
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 26, 2021 5:36 am

Indeed there are a number of factors that go into the rising life expectancy equation. As you note, people that would have died at young ages are surviving longer (such as many of those who would have died in child birth back then are surviving now) but that’s true for pretty much all ages groups. Diseases and afflictions that would have been a death knell for a 70 year old in 1800 are treatable for a 70 year old today who can then live on for many years more.

So yes, people are (in general) actually living longer, including longer lives for those in the older age brackets, it’s just that the benefits are cumulative. someone that would have died at age 1 in the past now survive and live decades longer, passing many other “would have died at” points vs some who would have died a age 80 in the past now becomes someone who survives to live another few years (having fewer “would have died at” points left to pass).

So while a the lion’s share of the rise in the maximum is a result of younger people living longer, some small amount of it is a result of old people living longer as well.

Reply to  Tom Halla
July 24, 2021 2:32 am

Tom:
I’ve been delving into genealogy for several years now.
What is astonishing is how many past generations lived long lives and died in their 70s and 80s.

e.g. Rebecca Nurse (Nourse) born February 1621 was hung as a witch in Salem on July 19, 1692 at age 71 years.

Her sister, Mary Eastey, born 1634, was hung later that year, September 1692, at age 58 years.

A third sister Sarah Cloyes, was also accused of being a witch, but acquitted and released after the Superior Court threw out ‘Spectral evidence’ and hearsay, requiring hard provable evidence.
Sarah died in 1703 at age 66.
Sarah spent a number of years not only clearing her own reputation, but also the reputations of Rebecca and Mary.

Various branches of the family died early from various other transient causes like yellow fever epidemics and the Civil War.
Once, as you point out, they lived past the age of 10 to 20 years they often lived well past age 60.

Last edited 1 month ago by ATheoK
starzmom
Reply to  ATheoK
July 24, 2021 7:49 am

If you have looked into genealogy, you no doubt have noticed how many families had 8-10 or more children and only 1-2 or none go on to have their own children. Happened in lots of families in my family trees I am sure it did in everybody’s.

Philo
Reply to  starzmom
July 27, 2021 12:29 pm

Something similar is happening today. The birthrate is hovering a bit below 2. ~2.15 is reqired fr a stable population these days.

William B Smith
Reply to  ATheoK
July 25, 2021 6:36 am

There is very good data for Florence in the 14th and 15th centuries. Infant mortality is the main thing driving down life expectancy. Second place goes to deaths from accidents/violence (males) and childbirth (women) affecting people in their 20s. If you lived past 30 you could expect to make it into your 60s and possibly beyond. At that point, the main causes of death were various kinds of coronary disease (so much for the Mediterranean diet). I suspect alcohol also played a role.

For those under 5 drowning was the most common cause of death — some things never change.

The 17th century data I’ve worked on from Germany shows much the same pattern but with lower rates of infant mortality. It is not uncommon to find women living into their 80s and even 90s. Life expectancy for men was lower, then as now, and for mostly the same reasons (physical injury, exposure to work-related toxins, higher incidence of coronary heart disease).

TonyG
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 24, 2021 3:24 pm

I keep seeing the example of people saying “the average person in the Roman era only lived to 37”, trying to imply that we live longer now, while completely leaving out infant mortality. People don’t want to understand these things.

josh scandlen
Reply to  TonyG
July 25, 2021 5:54 am

100%. I’m in financial planning and it became clear to me about 20 years how many people simply don’t take time to understand basic numbers.

They think our life expediencies are rapidly increasing…and we’ll all go broke because of long term care costs.

Neither of which are true. But man, oh man, don’t the investment firms love pushing these narratives.

John Endicott
Reply to  josh scandlen
July 26, 2021 5:52 am

While our life spans aren’t “rapidly increasing”, they are increasing. While for most that means not dying in childhood, not dying in childbirth, etc rather than living to be 100, there are quite a few for which it means living a few extra years in old age. More people are surviving to reach retirement age then ever before, and if you do manage to survive to retirement age, your chances of living longer into your retirement years are better now then in ages past.

And yes, there are a good many who will live to reach an age when they will be facing prohibitively expensive health and/or long term care costs, possibly for several years before they die. While not everyone will (indeed, many of them won’t) it’s better to be prepared incase you are one of the ones that will than bank (no pun intended) on being one of the many who won’t.

Forrest Gardener
July 23, 2021 6:15 pm

Thanks for that analysis.

The first take away message for me is that interpretation of statistics requires nuance which will not survive against today’s misinformation.

The second take away message is that men’s lives matter.

Forrest Gardener
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 23, 2021 6:57 pm

… and using the principles of intersectionality, old men’s lives matter.

Hey, I’m getting the hang of this. Does that make me woke or anti-woke?

commieBob
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 23, 2021 8:03 pm

Darn right … they control the climate doncha know. link

Rory Forbes
Reply to  commieBob
July 23, 2021 10:48 pm

Are you sure that’s what Dr. Lorenz was getting at? <sac/off>

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  commieBob
July 24, 2021 8:07 pm

Only if they flap their wings at some great distance from where the weather is modified.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Forrest Gardener
July 24, 2021 12:18 am

Old white men’s lives matter!

Philo
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 27, 2021 12:38 pm

I’m 74 years last month and I’m not old! I get sick(nearly died of pneumonia last April) but except for diseases I expect to live a while. Most of my father’s generation lived well into their 80’s with only a few cases of Alzheimers(14 uncles plus Dad).

John Endicott
Reply to  Forrest Gardener
July 26, 2021 5:55 am

If you were woke, you’d be banging on about old men’s privilege (particularly old white men) and how they oppress everyone else.

Nick Schroeder
July 23, 2021 6:17 pm

* * * * Sorry Nick….not here, please. — kh * * * *

July 23, 2021 6:33 pm

All true, but the average citizen will never know.

Forrest Gardener
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
July 23, 2021 7:00 pm

… and as George Carlin might have said, half of the population is less informed than that.

John in Oz
July 23, 2021 6:43 pm

When I left the navy in 1986 at age 36 my life expectancy was used as an input to calculate my pension – 72 is the age they used.

I am now in my 72nd year and fully expect to live at least another 10-15 years as I do not have any debilitating injuries, conditions or illnesses and live in a (supposed) 1st world country with plenty of medical support.

Lies, damn lies and statistics abound

Forrest Gardener
Reply to  John in Oz
July 23, 2021 7:01 pm

It’s nice when the statistics work in your favour. At age 100 my mother is still collecting my father’s pension.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Forrest Gardener
July 23, 2021 10:51 pm

Just think how luck you were winning the gene lottery.

Forrest Gardener
Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 24, 2021 4:01 am

I think it is a 50/50 thing. My father and both brothers died in their 60s and 70s. Maybe the female half of the blood line will be charmed.

Stevecsd
Reply to  Forrest Gardener
July 24, 2021 8:35 am

Alan, insurance companies make their profits off of investing the money people give them. It is not only from the premiums.
When I was younger someone told me if you buy life insurance you’re betting your going to die young, while the insurance company is betting you will live to a ripe old age.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  John in Oz
July 24, 2021 12:21 am

My parents’ life expectancy was increasing by one year every year. Apparently they would live forever.they’ve both passed away now, but in their mid to late 80s, which is pretty good.

Steve45
Reply to  John in Oz
July 24, 2021 12:46 am

You’re lucky you don’t live in the States. You’d probably still be working or dying from COVID.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Steve45
July 24, 2021 6:10 am

I live in the United States, retired at 58 and did not die of COVID-19. I’m willing to bet that my standard of living is better than yours.

starzmom
Reply to  Steve45
July 24, 2021 7:53 am

I live in the US, am past retirement age as is my husband, we work because we choose to. No health problems no COVID. I know my standard of living is better than many in other countries because I have friends in other countries.

TonyG
Reply to  Steve45
July 24, 2021 3:29 pm

Yep, Steve, we’re all ded over here.

Reply to  John in Oz
July 24, 2021 3:13 am

Not to worry.
Behind every pension calculation is an actuary whose job is to factor in all of those hidden impacts to a person’s pension calculation.

When retirees fill out their exit paperwork, there is an option for self only or self and spouse.
The pension payments for ‘self only’ are higher than those for ‘self and spouse’.
That difference factors in the likelihood of the spouse outliving the retiree.

Pauleta
July 23, 2021 6:46 pm

We need more immigrants in Europe and NA.

jdgalt1
Reply to  Pauleta
July 23, 2021 7:02 pm

We need more good immigrants. Unfortunately, open borders select for the ones we don’t want.

Drake
Reply to  jdgalt1
July 23, 2021 8:41 pm

Especially the children and pregnant women.

And the girls being trafficked as forced sex workers.

And the MANY that have the Chinavirus and are spreading it in the US.

And they will help to hold US wages DOWN, making US oligarchs, Democrats and Chamber of Commerce Republicans very happy, and more wealthy.

And they help keep the average height of “Americans” from increasing as fast as it would otherwise.

And they help reduce the average life expectancy of “Americans” by having been raised as children in locations with lower quality health care and nutrition and by carrying in the fentanyl helping increase overdoses, and by manning gangs that K!LL many “Americans”.

No downside to illegal immigration, right Alan?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Drake
July 23, 2021 10:56 pm

So you have no sympathy for all the others negatively affected. Had you considered that farms might be more profitable and able to pay better wages if there weren’t so many illegals messing up the economy for everyone but politicians and the wealthy?

Drake
Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 25, 2021 9:15 am

As some may know, this was not a response to “Drake”, it was to deleted post by a troll.

I am in complete agreement with Rory on this subject.

Drake
Reply to  Drake
July 24, 2021 4:13 pm

And what does that have to do with the price of rice in China? (One of my father’s favorite replies to something off topic or stupid I said as a child.)

I will pay a FAIR price for farm, ranch of meat packing plant products. I expect, in a free enterprise system, that labor wages will be what is required to hire the workers. YOU seem to think YOU have a right to pay ILLEGALS a substandard wage so YOU can make MORE MONEY.

I have seen, in contracting, etc. business owners like you. They make up for their own incompetence by cutting corners, hiring illegals at low wages, etc. Illegal construction workers, paid cash, not covered by workman’s comp. go to the emergency room after falling off the roof, etc. and legitimate contractors who follow the rules are underbid by the cheaters like you, while subsidizing YOUR workers health care.

So, instead of talking about my experience, why not respond to my post, item by item, and explain why US society should subsidize YOUR business by letting in illegals.

Reply to  jdgalt1
July 24, 2021 3:17 am

Apparently, they haven’t used your Driver’s license number or Social Security number, yet,

starzmom
Reply to  ATheoK
July 24, 2021 5:51 am

As a funny aside, a lady in our area–a Driver’s License office worker–was selling driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. She sold one to a blind guy, because he really wanted one. Yes, he showed up in court with his attorney, and his stick, guided by his child. No word on whether he actually drove.

jdgalt1
July 23, 2021 7:00 pm

I’m surprised you don’t even touch on the fact that a lot of deaths are in the statistics as caused by Covid when they had nothing to do with it, except that the dead person tested positive for Covid (on a test with a large false-positive rate) after being brought in dead from a car wreck, shooting, or some other cause.

The main cause for this in the US is that the Medicare system pays hospitals a subsidy for each patient who is pronounced dead of Covid there. I’ve heard the same is true in several European countries.

Drake
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 23, 2021 8:46 pm

So got to respond 2 in a row Allan.

A LOT of those that have had the vaccine are dying too.

To use griff’s numbers, he earlier posted that 60% of those admitted to the hospital with Covid had not had the vaccine.

That, of course, means 40% did have the vaccine. Admitted to the hospital, you know the vaccine will save lives and make symptoms less.

BS.

Bill Treuren
Reply to  Drake
July 23, 2021 10:14 pm

and that is more than they say

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Drake
July 23, 2021 11:00 pm

Oh, by the way Drake, you’ll note that the states with the highest rates of infections are states that voted FOR Trump

Nope.

Thanks WUWT
Reply to  Drake
July 24, 2021 2:23 am

Like Nevada? Oh

rbabcock
Reply to  Drake
July 24, 2021 4:49 am

That’s because all those people likely to be hospitalized in the blue states are already deceased thanks to the governors of those states packing the nursing homes with infected people.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Drake
July 24, 2021 6:20 am

You’ll also notice you are quoting percentages and not actual numbers. It’s a great way to lie. Texas and Florida are still way behind New York and California in total deaths. The huge uptick in Florida right now is a weekly average of 33 deaths per day versus the New York weekly average of 933 deaths per day on April 15 (usafacts.org).

Reply to  Drake
July 24, 2021 6:49 am

99% is not even close to being true in Israel and Great Britain, due to the Delta variant. I doubt if 99% is true for the US as the Delta variant is now very common here.

Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are not 95% effective especially for the Delta variant. The Israeli Health Ministry just released new data purporting to show that while the Pfizer jab is still 88% effective at preventing serious illness, it’s only 39% effective at preventing infection with Delta.

AlexBerlin
Reply to  Richard Greene
July 24, 2021 8:15 am

Delta seems to have a hard time killing anybody. Just looking at the figures from Britain: Well over 20,000 “new infections per day” four weeks ago (and ever increasing since), and yet never more than 50 deaths – on many days considerably less. Assuming 4 weeks lag between infection and death (which is already very generous, as few people, once they get seriously ill from Covid, linger that long) that’s something like a death rate of 1 in 400 or 1 in 500. Assuming a more realistic lag of just 2 weeks, it looks more like 1 in 1000. At such a rate, it is doubtful IMHO if that one person didn’t just _accidentally_ have Covid but died because of an unrelated other disease. Other “deadly diseases” tend to work every time, or every second time, but not only once in hundreds or thousands of cases….

Last edited 1 month ago by AlexBerlin
Drake
Reply to  Drake
July 24, 2021 4:15 pm

Provide the link.

Drake
Reply to  Drake
July 24, 2021 4:16 pm

Provide the link.

Drake
Reply to  Drake
July 24, 2021 4:16 pm

Provide the links.

AndyHce
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 23, 2021 10:39 pm

https://joannenova.com.au/2021/07/israel-data-vaccines-only-16-effective-after-6-months-but-still-prevent-86-hospitalization/

Note the considerations about “leaky vaccines” driving vaccine resistant mutations. Not unlike the results from the overuse of antibiotics?

Editor
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 24, 2021 5:50 pm

He didn’t read it, which is why his replies are scattershot quality.

Philo
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 27, 2021 12:52 pm

What makes my blood boil about the Wuhan flu is that the CDC and its minions dropped accepted practice for an epidemic- segregate the ill at home. Instead, in order to help their legal and elective prospects they FORCED healthy people to shelter in place, often to lose their jobs or much of their earning power. Not to mention the stresses of trying to cope financially, The Government handouts were meagre and too little too lat to anything but bust the budget.

dk_
July 23, 2021 7:06 pm

I do not have a source, but I’ve read several claims of increased violent deaths in areas with civil unrest and/or “defunded” or otherwise inhibited police forces. Since January, we’ve had an increase in deaths of the illeagal border crossers, human traffickers, and smugglers. Possibly both combined are insignificant compared to the COVID and drug overdose cases you cite, but the relative youth, and probably male gender of those victims may make a measurable difference to the overall statistics.

dk_
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 24, 2021 7:48 pm

Thanks, Kip.
Would killed in a drive by shooting be counted as a homicide or an unintentional injury? I also sometimes wonder if chronic liver disease and cirrhosis is more deadly when untreated, and when interventions and other social support programs are not locked down.

July 23, 2021 7:42 pm

(Snipped your trolling comment) SUNMOD

(Discovered that you were banned a few days ago, now you are banned again, how many is that now 50?) SUNMOD

Last edited 1 month ago by Sunsettommy
Drake
Reply to  Alan
July 23, 2021 8:54 pm

#3 response to you Alan.

You are a liberal a$$hat.

Your posts to this thread have convinced me that this must be true.

As Bugs would say, “What a maroon”

(Please do not reply over and over with Trolls, just report or leave it alone) SUNMOD

Last edited 1 month ago by Sunsettommy
Rory Forbes
Reply to  Drake
July 23, 2021 11:04 pm

It’s useful to have the contribution of the “asshats” because we could otherwise forget how utterly misdirected they are … about almost everything, unsurprisingly.

Drake
Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 24, 2021 4:21 pm

Thanks Rory.

You, of course, are correct.

I sometimes get a little testy when someone like Alan starts posting his crap. I read his first 2 posts (above) and went back to respond to them, then read the third and just could not take it anymore.

And his sticks or stones comment, after his response to my earlier post re illegals, quite laughable, no?

Drake

Drake
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 25, 2021 9:20 am

Thanks Kip, you don’t know how much I appreciate what you mods put up with.

Having reread through the above posts, many replies to Steve34 and Alan are now nonsensical due to their posts having been removed.

I guess it is the nature of the beast.

jorgekafkazar
July 23, 2021 8:09 pm

My grandfather’s year of birth is not on that LE chart. His age at death was above the right hand end of the curve.

Intelligent Dasein
July 23, 2021 8:37 pm

World War II does not cause a visible drop because this data on this graph is of the averages of the five preceding years

That is a complete non sequitur. A lot of people died young between 1940 and 1945. Why would WWI show a pronounced decline but WWII does not, when both time periods are being represented by past 5 year averages? This does not make any sense at all.

RLu
Reply to  Intelligent Dasein
July 23, 2021 10:43 pm

That dip was not from combat losses, but related to the ‘Spanish’ flu.

Reply to  RLu
July 24, 2021 3:42 am

Most of the influenza deaths occurred post WWI.

For countries involved in most of WWI, they suffered an entire generation of young men killed.
That five year average method can not hide the years of WWI losses.

America joined late and quickly learned not to send armies of young men running across fields of interlocked machinegun and artillery fire.

July 23, 2021 9:01 pm

If we want to increase life-expectancy, we desperately need to Find a Cure for Liberalism.

h/t: Mark Dice

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 23, 2021 11:08 pm

That’s a keeper.

Steve45
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 24, 2021 12:28 am

Except literally all of Western Europe has better life expectancy than the USA. Find a cure for dumb ignorant Americans.

Reply to  Steve45
July 24, 2021 3:46 am

As pointed out early in the comments, much of that is due to different definitions and tracking of data, not from the lifespans of citizens.

July 23, 2021 9:17 pm

Life long Republicans have always become solid Democrat voters after their death.

Steve45
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 24, 2021 12:38 am
Reply to  Steve45
July 24, 2021 3:24 am

One!? You cite one person who committed one vote fraud!?
And you cite the Washpoo one of the left’s cornerstone fake news sources…
Truly pathetic!

Never mind that many alleged conservatives have been proven by picture history to be lifelong activist democrats currently pretending to be conservatives.

Meanwhile there are videos of democrats processing tens of thousands fraudulent votes.
Along with bizarre amounts of documented long dead folks voting democrat.

Last edited 1 month ago by ATheoK
Philo
Reply to  Steve45
July 27, 2021 1:04 pm

WOW! ONE?!

The Arizona has already pointed to potential 100’s or thousands of unverifiable votes.

Rory Forbes
July 23, 2021 11:07 pm

Unfortunately for you, little is gong to salvage the debacle O’Biden and his merry band of puppeteers have made of government. The electorate simply isn’t going to look the other way forever… even the most brain dead.

Steve45
Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 24, 2021 12:32 am

Except he’s polling consistently in the low 50s and folks love his policies. Now all your dumb fat republican friends are dying of COVID because they are too stupid to get vaccinated and now you’re going to lose the mid-terms too no matter how much BS voter suppression laws the GOP grifters pass. What a spectacular own goal.

Reply to  Steve45
July 24, 2021 3:33 am

Fake poll numbers?
Exactly like all of the fake polls for the last eight years?

Here is evidence of Biden’s lack of supporters; his Presidential Town Hall:comment image

Just turning away lots of supporters for lack of seats… Not!

Mike Dubrasich
July 24, 2021 12:03 am

Life expectancy is a fuzzy stat at best. A better way to map lifetimes is survival analysis (SA) — the study of the expected duration of time until an event occurs. Think lightbulbs or radioactive decay. A variety of stat tools are used in SA including life tables, survival functions, hazard functions, and hazard regressions (with co-variants). Half lives are sometimes estimated. Complex curves are sometimes computed and drawn.

Needless to say, if you are 105 with a brain tumor, your life expectancy is less than that of a teenager in perfect health. The average across the entire population is almost meaningless.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 24, 2021 7:16 pm

In other words, meaningful to communists. I think we see that in some of the comments.

Steve45
July 24, 2021 12:07 am

The headline should be how appalling life expectancy is in the US. At least you’re beating communist Cuba now- but not by much. Should anyone be surprised? You literally have the worst health care system in the developed world but you’re too dumb to realize.

Reply to  Steve45
July 24, 2021 3:57 am

Which is why numerous UK citizens come to America and pay for specialist and basic doctor care.
One family I know brought the entire family to the US to get eye exams and eyeglasses.

Another came to America from Australia for dental care…

Better health service is another fake news claim.
https://dailycaller.com/2018/09/13/cancer-treatment-delays-uks-nhs/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottatlas/2013/07/05/happy-birthday-to-great-britains-increasingly-scandalous-national-health-service/?sh=255c61f5136a

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/07/08/happy_birthday_to_great_britains_increasingly_scandalous_national_health_service_119119.html

UK’s own report about their services described NHS inability to provide modern timely care for illnesses and health conditions. of course, UK disappeared all internet links to the report.

Then there is the infamous:

“Here We Go… Scottish Official Says Covid 19 “Quite Useful” In Culling Older People From National Health Service”.

It’s a shame Booker missed out on documenting UK’s NHS latest failures.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Steve45
July 24, 2021 6:30 am

The US has 48 million immigrants compared to number 2 Russia with 11 million. Shouldn’t you be telling all those stupid people that they made a mistake moving to the US with such a bad health care system? Or do you think maybe the 48 million know something you don’t?
https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/immigration-by-country

AlexBerlin
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
July 24, 2021 8:31 am

They know what everybody knows: That there is a culture of welcoming hobos of all colors, drug users, criminals, and other vermin in the USA. In Russia, there are Gulags for illegal punks.

[nice self-edit. yes you are on a knife edge of being permanently, deservedly banned. -mod]

Last edited 1 month ago by AlexBerlin
Drake
Reply to  Steve45
July 24, 2021 4:35 pm

Specific case comparing Canadian to US healthcare. This is factual, although the man’s name was not given, the office staff who did the billing knows this to be true.

Man flies into Las Vegas, gets to a casino and falls on the floor claiming chest pain. Taken to the E room, tested, and into the OR for emergency heart bypass surgery.

It was determined that he was on a waiting list for the procedure in Canada.

Canada paid less than 1/10 the costs.

What do you do when there is no where else to go.

And BTW, where did Fidel go when he needed health care? OUT OF CUBA.

Ted
Reply to  Steve45
July 25, 2021 1:26 pm

Life expectancy in the US is relatively low due to murders and auto accidents, not bad health care. You’ve obviously never read any of the WHO’s studies for health care or looked at cancer survival rates. The U.S. always ranked first in the world for quality of care actually received by both rich and poor, but healthcare only counted for 25% of the system score. Dollars spent on research were counted as a negative, and socialism was given as much weight as care received.

Steve45
July 24, 2021 12:34 am

WUWT readers successfully removing themselves from the gene pool.

KAT
Reply to  Steve45
July 24, 2021 3:11 am

Hoist by your own retard.
YOU are obviously a WUWT reader!
Simple logic escapes you – apparently.

TonyG
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 24, 2021 3:33 pm

Kip, just an observation on trolls: This steve fella seems the worst of the bunch. At least the usual crowd sometimes try to make a point, all steve does is hurl insults.

Forrest Gardener
Reply to  Steve45
July 24, 2021 4:10 am

We do all realize that having passed our genetic material on to our children our fate has no further impact on the gene pool, don’t we?

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Forrest Gardener
July 24, 2021 6:23 am

Evolution is a concept beyond his IQ of 45.

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Philo
Reply to  Freyr energy
July 28, 2021 4:07 am

making the best of a lousy system is a last resort effort to get out of a bad situation.
Since the situation is not bad and the earth isn’t warming from human-caused CO2 there is no need to make desperate, expensive, .solution.

Alex
July 24, 2021 2:14 am

“Life Expectancy Plunges”Wasn’t it the goal of the virus designers?
Mission accomplished!

July 24, 2021 3:22 am

PBS…
What a laugh!! PBS news is pure hard leftist and elitist fake news.

July 24, 2021 3:45 am

Good post. I particularly like your question that people should ask themselves  “What exactly are they really counting?”
It reminds me of something similar in the book, “The Tiger That Isn’t”, published in 2007, that, when confronted by scary looking numbers from official source’s, ask yourself; “Is that a big number, or is it a little number?”

July 24, 2021 6:39 am

Good article.
Life expectancy is a PREDICTION of an IMAGINARY cohort.
It sounds as useless as the climate models.

Concerning COVID “deaths” in nursing homes, of which there were many:
— Prior to 2020, for nursing home patients that got influenza, or pneumonia, and then died, the cause of death on their death certificate would be heart disease (or whatever serious medical condition sent them to the nursing home), and the respiratory disease would be listed as a contributing factor of death, if listed at all

But For COVID, starting in March 2020, per new CDC rules, the same person dying with respiratory disease symptoms (which could have been COVID, or many other diseases) had his cause of death listed as COVID-19, with heart disease as the contributory factor.

That is a very different counting methodology. The declaration of COVID could have been based on a very inaccurate PCR test with a high CT, or merely by the observation of respiratory symptoms, which could have been caused by COVID, or influenza, bronchitis, bacterial pneumonia, or viral pneumonia NOT caused by COVID.

For influenza deaths, I believe the CDC uses a computer model — there is no list of names of people who died from influenza. It is hypothetical. Most doctors, including two of my own, believe the flu death estimates have always been too high. They also complained about diagnosing COVID based solely on a positive PCR test, with absolutely no symptoms. Prior to 2020, patients with no symptoms were not diagnosed as influenza “cases”.

I believe the majority of people with positive PCR tests, who had no COVID symptoms, were not infected with COVID, and were not a threat to society. COVID cases appear to have been grossly exaggerated.

Another problem with counting COVID deaths:
A person who tested positive for COVID with an inaccurate PCR test (using a high CT), who died in the next month or two (timing varied by nation) would be declared a COVID death, even if they were killed in a motorcycle crash. Bureaucrats did not seem very interested in investigating alleged “COVID deaths”, because they seemed to want to report a high number of deaths.

Never trust goobermint numbers.
Try to verify them.
Or ignore them.

Tom
July 24, 2021 8:18 am

They could have written a story about how, yes, a lot more people than normal died in 2020, but this does not mean anything for future life expectancy, but that wouldn’t sell very many papers, would it.

H.R.
July 24, 2021 9:30 am

If I play my cards right, eat healthy, get some exercise, and watch out for cars and buses when crossing the street, my life expectancy will be precisely long enough to get me to my funeral.

Robert of Texas
July 24, 2021 9:56 am

“Therefore, the cause of the decrease in life expectancy at birth for the year 2020 is in the past and will not affect the length of the future lives children born today.”

Well, we hope that is true, but it is not a fact – especially if one does not become so specific as to just consider Covid-19. With cities continuing to pack evermore people closely together, and scientists (and likely very bad actors) continuing to play “tinker toys” swapping genes between pathological viruses, it is not at all clear to me that we will not see future events worse than Covid-19. Porous borders, trans-world flights that have no controls on the health of people flying, and the absolute necessity of many people to join into herds (beaches, demonstrations, parties, bars, conventions, etc.) all lead to a quick and messy spread of a pathogen.

‘Our” ability to play with the gene pools of pathogens scares me far worse than any nuclear accident.

One other point: Life Expectancy does not equal years of good life. Just because people live longer does not equate to extra years of health and happiness. There should be a measure that subtracts the years people spend in misery (thinking dementia here) tied into their beds, locked away in some institution. I for one do not want a longer life unless it means addition good years.

Tombstone Gabby
July 24, 2021 12:08 pm

G’Day Kip,

Read More, Read Widely, Read Critically.

On the ‘Read Widely’. Excellent advice. Getting most of my reading matter these days from thrift stores. Select half a dozen or more on subjects I have an interest in, and one or two on subjects I have little knowledge of.

Example? A book on “Hawaiian Quilting”. Gave a history of the introduction of quilting, via missionary wives, and showed early and current examples. “The Flag” is a popular pattern. The best part, the book was in good condition and made an excellent Christmas gift to a friend who is ‘into’ quilting. (Several ladies in town make lap quilts for a nearby VA hospital.)

Drake
Reply to  Tombstone Gabby
July 25, 2021 9:25 am

Why would anyone down vote this post?

Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 25, 2021 5:58 pm

G’Day Kip and Drake,

Without a comment to go with the ‘negative’, who knows.

It was a couple of weeks ago I was reading the comments on an article and noted that “Tillman” was getting a remarkable number of “negatives”. My conclusion, someone is having ‘fun’ passing out down-votes, probably without even reading the posts. No sweat.

niceguy
July 24, 2021 2:21 pm

Proof of a “pandemic”?

TonyG
July 24, 2021 3:16 pm

“It is only that the metric called LE@B changed”

Sadly, most people simply won’t understand that. (Not can’t, won’t)

Tom
July 24, 2021 4:18 pm

NPR did a story on this today. The discussion mentioned that even deaths by homicide were up, and they discussed several reasons for this, among which was not a decline in law enforcement. Shocking no?

josh scandlen
July 25, 2021 5:40 am

Of course, Life Expectancy at Birth has NO meaning for those reading this either. The only thing that matters is life expectancy at your current age.

If you are 60 years old today, what is your life expectancy. Well, you can use the Social Security tables, which is as good as any. Those tables show the number of deaths that take place each year.

All these people doing retirement plans with a date of death expectancy of 90 or 95 are just fooling themselves. It’s no different that assuming you’re going to spend hundreds of thousands in long term care facilities. For the vast majority of us…ain’t gonna happen.

So, retire while you can still enjoy it!

Drake
Reply to  josh scandlen
July 25, 2021 9:29 am

Retirement is not an age, it is a financial calculation.

I wanted to retire at 62, ran the numbers and then retired at 63Y6M. Having been retired for 3 years now, I could have pulled the plug at 62. That is water under the bridge, and my kids will just inherit more when I go.

Jim Whelan
July 25, 2021 8:51 am

Excellent article but absolutely THE most important part is the “Author’s Comments” at the end. Know what is being counted (and sometimes how the count is being made).

Ted
July 25, 2021 1:33 pm

I’d like to know when the life expectancy was as “low” as the new figure. I think a statement that the life expectancy is now only slightly higher than 2005 (or whatever recent year it happens to be) would be a good quick response to anyone that claims this is a big deal.

One side note, fentanyl overdose apparently doesn’t kill people, only improper police response can result in death.

Ted
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 26, 2021 1:24 pm

Kip, yes, I was referring to the disconnect between the evidence and the verdict, and hoping that verdict and the media coverage doesn’t result in people downplaying the risk of fentanyl usage.

July 28, 2021 6:48 am

Thank you for this very clear and educational article, Kip!

One more detail is that LE@B figures from different countries are not necessarily directly comparable.

LE@B is very strongly influenced by the infant mortality rate, since every infant who dies effectively increments the denominator while adding zero to the numerator. So any reduction in the infant mortality rate greatly increases the LE@B (while not actually affecting the life expectancies of those already born).

It turns out that many countries (mostly those with socialized medicine) reduce reported infant mortality rates simply by not counting severely premature infants, and often not even trying to save them. Instead of reporting an infant death they report “stillborn” even if the baby was crying.

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/15/opinion/la-oe-conover-health-myths-20120315

Last edited 1 month ago by Dave Burton
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