Lifespans longer than forecast

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The proportion of elderly people who will need to be supported by the working population over the coming decades will be far larger than western governments have previously estimated, according to a new scientific evaluation of life expectancies.

The proportion of elderly people who will need to be supported by the working population over the coming decades will be far larger than western governments have previously estimated, according to a new scientific evaluation of life expectancies.

People will live far longer than previous forecasts have suggested, leading to severesocial and economic problems as a smaller number of young workers are expected to support an ever-growing elderly population.

Scientists have found that official figures for typical lifespans of people in the year 2050 are consistently underestimated for all of the G7 nations, including the UK.

Shripad Tuljapurkar and colleagues, of Mountain View Research in Los Altos, California, found that many factors that will extend the lives of people have not been taken fully into account in official forecasts of life expectancies.

In a research paper published in Nature, the demographers found that a typical Japanese will be expected to live until the age of nearly 91, about eight years longer than Tokyo's official forecast. Men and women in the UK will have a combined life expectancy of 83.79 years in 2050, compared with the official forecast of 82.5 years, the scientists say.

Shiro Horichi, a demongrapher at Rockefeller University in New York, said that the slowing down of mortality which has extended life expectancy over the past 150 years shows no signs of levelling off.

"This implies that the elderly population in the near future will be greater than in the official forecasts," he said.

Comments