LIVING LONGER: The Japanese still live longer than anyone else. Japanese women born in 1993 are expected to live 82.51 years- up .129 years from the previous year. Men are expected to live 76.25 years- up .16 years. French women placed second at 80.94 years followed by Switzerland at 80.90, Iceland at 80.89 and Sweden at 80.79. American women placed at 79.10 years. For men, second place was Iceland at 75.74 years, Sweden at 75.35, Hong Kong at 74.90 and Israel at 74.54. U.S. males were at 72.2 years. The Japanese said their long lives was due to moderation in eating and drinking. Other advice was early to bed and early to rise religious faith and hard work.

From a 1996 actuary- a man age 65 can expect to live to 80.3. A woman to age 83.8. A girl born in 1996 who misses the diseases of breast cancer and heart disease can figure on a lifetime to age 92.

OLD: (1996) As the baby boomers get older, there are noticeable changes in our attitudes and philosophies to infirmity and death. There are now far more open discussions to incontinence (just look at the TV ads), loneliness and suicide, and the major issue of euthanasia (the first legal euthanasia in the world was conducted in Australia on September 25th, 1996). Some say the aging process dampens creativity and entrepreneurial activities. But many other articles show that the aging are at least as creative when old than younger- partly due to the freeing up of inhibitions.

In 1790, half of Americans were under age 16. It did not double till roughly 1990 when the median age reached 33. By 2050, it will be over 40 to even 50.

In 1850, a newborn white baby girl could expect to live to age 40- a boy to age 38. Today a girl can expect to live to 79- a boy to age 73. The fastest growing age segment is 80+ where over half are women.

Of course, many issues of retirement involve money. Social Security retirement has been pushed till a later age since we simply do not have enough money to pay for the many extra years of retirement than what was envisioned during the 1950's and 1960's. In 1960, a man could expect 3 years of retirement- now it's 10. The number of workers supporting the retirees is declining. In Japan, there are 6 workers for every retiree. But in 2025, there will only be 2 workers. The same thing has been happening for years in the United States and will be cause in the future for class revolt. (I have said that there will be a major problem between the have and have nots by 2010 and the soured relationship between the young and old will be part of it.) The government spends 9 times the amount on seniors than it does on children.

Also, as the population ages, the savings rate will decline- and it is already horrendously low in the U.S. That's because the elderly will, at some point, need to use all their income to live- finally using up their assets as well. That may mean less capital in the U.S. for growth. And when this money comes out, it could foretell a huge decline in the stock market.

We may avoid a major war in the next century. But the inevitable aging of people globally will cause problems beyond anyone's comprehension.

Workers Per Retiree (ratio of retirement age people to 100 working age adults) Current retirement age after country name
Country Current Retirement Age Ratio of retirement age people to 100 working age adults


Austria 59.9 36.7 61.4
Japan 61.5 24.9 55.8
Belgium 62 32.2 55.2
Germany 61.4 29.6 54.1
France 62.4 28.8 45.9
Finland 65 21.9 44.0
Britain 62.9 29.5 42.0
Spain 63.9 23.4 37.9
Canada 65.1 18.8 35.9
United States 63.5 22.3 35.1

Life Expectancy at birth in 1996

Asia and Middle East
Men Women
Cambodia 48 51
China 68 71
India 59 60
Iraq 66 68
Israel 76 81
Japan 76 83
Philippines 63 569
South Korea 70 77

Egypt 60 63
Kenya 56 56
Morocco 68 72
Nigeria 53 56
South Africa 57 62
Zambia 36 36

North and South America

Men Women
Argentina 68 75
Brazil 57 67
Canada 76 83
Cuba 75 80
Haiti 47 51
Mexico 70 77
United States 73 79

Eastern Europe

Men Women
Czech Republic 70 78
Poland 68 76
Russia 57 70

Western Europe
Men Women
Britain 74 79
France 74 82
Germany 73 79
Greece 76 81
Italy 75 81
Netherlands 75 81
Norway 74 81
Spain 74 81
Sweden 76 82
Switzerland 75 82


Australia 76 83
New Zealand 74 80

It really puts your life in focus since, if most of us had been born in Zambia, we'd already be dead by now. And look at the males in Russia. They represent the only industrialized country that has actually had their life span drop.

LIVING LONGER: (WSJ 1997) Researchers used to think that if you extended life by five years, four would involve debilitated health. Not so. 24.9% of the elderly in 1982 were unable to perform cooking, bathing or dressing themselves. In 1994, that had declined to 21.3% and represented about 7 million elderly. If the 1.5% drop stays true, it could help Medicare stabilize itself for the next few decades since there would be so much in savings.

Longevity: (National Center for Health Statistics (10 Oct 2001) American males born in 2000 now enjoy an average life expectancy of 74.1 years, up 0.2 years from 1999. Females have an average life expectancy of 79.5 years, up 0.1 years. Women can still expect to live longer than men on average, though the gap in life expectancy continued a years-long narrowing trend last year. A 7-year difference between the sexes recorded in 1990 was down to 5.5 years last year. Significant racial differences remain, however. Age-adjusted mortality continued to fall for heart disease and cancer--the top two causes of death--as well as several other leading causes, including suicide, homicide, accidents, stroke, diabetes, chronic lower respiratory disease, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. However, mortality for diseases that disproportionately strike the elderly, such as Alzheimer’s and pneumonitis, increased.

Aging Percentage of population over age 60         Year 2000                                                                                                                                                       2020

India 7.6% 11
China 10.3 16.7
USA 16 22.8
France 20.5 26.8
UK  20.6 26.7
Italy  22.3 33
Japan 23.2 33.7