Cohort life expectancy is a necessary but rarely used indicator of mean longevity. In a new study by the Australian National University (ANU), scientists present another method for estimating life expectancy, representing the historic mortality conditions that today’s older generations lived through.
By this measure, Australian men live longer than any other group of males in the world. On average, Australian men live to 74.1.
Not only men, but this also applies to Australian women too; the study shows they’re ranked second, behind their Swiss counterparts.
For the study, scientists used data from 15 countries across Europe, North America, and Asia with high life expectancies.
Dr. Collin Payne co-led the study said, “Popular belief has it that Japan and the Nordic countries are doing well in terms of health, wellbeing, and longevity. But Australia is right there. The results have a lot to do with long term stability and the fact Australia’s had a high standard of living for a long time. Simple things like having enough to eat, and not seeing a lot of major conflicts play a part.”
“At first, we grouped people by the year of birth, separating ‘early’ deaths from ‘late’ deaths, to come up with the age at which someone can be considered an ‘above-average’ survivor. Most measures of life expectancy are just based on mortality rates at a given time. It’s saying if you took a hypothetical group of people and put them through the mortality rates that a country experienced in 2018, for example, they would live to an average age of 80.”
“But that doesn’t tell you anything about the life courses of people, as they’ve lived through to old age. Our measure takes the life course into account, including mortality rates from 50, 60, or 70 years ago. What matters is we’re comparing a group of people who were born in the same year, and so have experienced similar conditions throughout their life.”
Dr. Payne says, “this method allows us to see whether someone is reaching their cohort’s life expectancy. For example, an Australian man who’s above age 74 we know with 100 percent certainty has outlived half of his cohort — he’s an above-average survivor compared to his peers born in the same year.”
“And those figures are higher here than anywhere else that we’ve measured life expectancy. On the other hand, any man who’s died before age 74 is not living up to their cohort’s life expectancy.”
Dr. Payne says, “there are several factors which might’ve contributed to Australia jumping ahead in these new rankings. Mortality was high in Japan in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. In Australia, mortality was low during that time.”
“French males, for example, drop out because a lot of them died during WW2, some from direct conflict, others from childhood conditions.”
Scientists ar enow hoping to get enough data to look at how rankings have changed over the last 30 or 40 years.
The study is published in the journal Population Studies.