Life expectancy: how long for a healthy country?
by Will Dahlgreen in Editor's picks, Front Page and Life
Mon July 29, 2013 3:38 p.m. BST
British adults think the life expectancy of a healthy country in 2013 should be higher than it currently is anywhere in the world
According to the World Bank, since 1960 UK life expectancy has risen by almost 10 years, to 80.7 years. New research by YouGov finds that the British public think the life expectancy of a healthy country should be higher, at around the level projected for the UK in 2035.
On average, British adults think the life expectancy of a healthy country should be 86. That is higher than the Office for National Statistic's projected 2035 UK male life expectancy of 83.4 years, and only just short of the projected female figure of 87 years. Indeed, no country has a life expectancy to satisfy British desires; according to the World Bank Japan and Hong Kong have the highest current levels of 83 years.
YouGov also asked the public how long they personally expect to live. The average figure is 83, which is not unrealistic for much of the ageing population. What could be surprising, however, is that 18-24 year olds also expect to live to 83, or to 2072-2078. Considering the potential advancements in medical technology by then, and keeping in mind that some scientists believe the first person to live to 150 has already been born, the personal life expectancy of the young may seem modest.
Although perhaps it is not so surprising: the last year has seen a sharp, so far unexplained rise in UK death rates. The president of Public Health England Professor John Ashton has said possible causes include the decreasing effectiveness of antibiotics and the impact of austerity, but “it may be”, he added, “that we’re now moving into a new phase where the age of ever-increasing life expectancy is coming to an end.”