Sentence to ponder

by on April 8, 2010 at 5:20 pm in History | Permalink

Of all the people in human history who ever reached the age of 65, half are alive now.

There are more age-related facts here.

1 Andrew April 8, 2010 at 5:55 pm

“…when as chancellor of Germany he needed a starting age for paying war pensions. He chose the age of 65 because that was typically when ex-soldiers died.”

that’s awesome.

2 SB7 April 8, 2010 at 6:44 pm

@TomMiller, I’d love to see a source for that figure too, but your back of the envelope numbers don’t seem too far off from that claim to me. I think only ~1 in 20 people making it to 65 for most of human history sounds pretty reasonable.

3 matt April 8, 2010 at 8:33 pm

That is an amazing stat given the following: the number of humans alive today constitutes only about 1% of all humans who ever lived, at least according to (I think) Dawkins.

My favourite viewquake stat is the global doubling of life expectancy in the 20th century.

4 Thorstein Veblen April 8, 2010 at 9:21 pm

This statement is wildly inaccurate. And the upper bound on how long humans live hasn’t really budged at all due to modern medicine. The figure is probably more like 5-10%.

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6 Troy Camplin April 9, 2010 at 1:08 am

It is my understanding that one could make this statement about just about any demographic now. It’s likely to be an artifact of the level of population growth

7 Ace-K April 9, 2010 at 2:59 am

Since the figures quoted seem so implausible, maybe a more interesting question would be, is there *any* age for which more than half of the people ever to reach that age are still alive? Are more than half of all historical 110-year olds still alive? The distribution probably gets pretty ragged at the highest end. We know, for instance, that fewer than half of all 120-year olds are now alive.

8 Andrew April 9, 2010 at 6:25 am

Where were you people when they were claiming that life expectancy had to do with the medical system?

9 bartman April 9, 2010 at 8:11 am

Methuselah lived 900 years.

10 Exercise for Seniors April 9, 2010 at 10:55 am

I was going to mention this in my blog, even link to it, but the consensus here seems to be that this statistic is exaggerated.

11 lemmy caution April 9, 2010 at 1:02 pm

You guys are convincing that this is a bullshit statistic. I tried tracking the origins of it and I could not find anything.

12 techreseller April 12, 2010 at 11:57 am

The post immediately before this one gets it. The point is that many developed societies are rapidly aging. The implications for that are staggering. No new workers to pay for your Social Security, Medicare, pension etc. Dramatic changes in the population mix as immigrants from other parts of the world move in and take the place of where the new younger population used to be. Russia is disappearing. Well, more accurately, Russians are disappearing. A combination of declining birth rates and declining life expectancy is emptying Russia of Russians. The Chinese are next unless they quite soon change their birth rates. We already know about Japan. Why do you think Japan is the leader in developing robotics. They see that someone/something has to perform the work.

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