Who Cares About Life Expectancy?



Life expectancy at birth (LEB) in the U.S. has grown about 50% since 1900, with most of the increase going to upper income groups. (See “Differences in Life Expectancy by Income Level”; Contingencies;July/August 2016.)Depending on the data source and the methodology used to determine it, LEB in the U.S. is about 77 and 82 for males and females, respectively.

I’m a retiree, so I’m more interested in life expectancy at age 65 (LE65). (OK, fine, life expectancy at a somewhat higher age is more pertinent for me, but LE65 is the more common measurement.) LE65 in America is about 18.2 and 20.8 for males and females, again depending on the dataset and methodology.

LEB and LE65 in America are calculated from a dataset of 330 million lives. Another dataset of 7.5 billion lives provides a LEB of 68 and 72 for males and females, a significant difference from the LEB mentioned earlier. The 7.5-billion-life dataset was the world population rather than the U.S. population subset. A meaningful LEB requires homogeneity of the underlying dataset.

Author(s): Bob Rietz

Publication Date: Jan/Feb 2022

Publication Site: Contingencies

Mortality Nuggets: Videos on 2020 Death Rates by Cause of Death, Querying WONDER, and Actuarial News




Actuarial News is a website Stu created for me to use as a place to collect all the articles, websites, data sources, etc. that I like to use for my research and writing. I tend to develop ideas over long periods, and I prefer my selections over trying to use regular search.

As noted in the video, I used to use the old Actuarial Outpost (RIP) as a repository for my articles on public pensions and finance, but now I use Actuarial.News.

By the way, for any readers seeking actuarial discussion as once was provided by the old Outpost, check out goActuary. I have a thread on spreadsheet screwups and one on non-pandemic mortality, for instance.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 25 Jan 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Edmond Halley’s Life Table and Its Uses

Link: https://fac.comtech.depaul.edu/jciecka/Halley.pdf

Formal citation: James E. Ciecka. 2008. Edmond Halley’s Life Table and Its Uses. Journal of Legal
15(1): pp. 65-74.



Halley obtained demographic data for Breslau, a city in Silesia which is now the Polish city Wroclaw. Breslau kept detailed records of births, deaths, and the ages of people when they died. In comparison, when John Graunt (1620-1674) published his famous demographic work (1662), ages of deceased people were not recorded in London and would not be recorded until the 18th century.

Caspar Neumann, an important German minister in Breslau, sent some demographic records to Gottfried Leibniz who in turn sent them to the Royal Society in London. Halley analyzed Newmann’s data which covered the years 1687-1691 and published the analysis in the Philosophical Transactions. Although Halley had broad interests, demography and actuarial science were quite far afield from his main areas of study. Hald (2003) has speculated that Halley himself analyzed these data because, as the editor of the Philosophical Transactions, he
was concerned about the Transactions publishing an adequate number of quality papers. 2 Apparently, by doing the work himself, he ensured that one more high quality paper would be published.

Author(s): James E. Ciecka

Publication Date: 2008 [accessed June 2021]

Publication Site: DePaul University