People tend to underestimate how long they are going to live. Why is this? One contributing factor is that the life expectancy “facts” we usually see or hear are themselves underestimates.
Many demographers are fascinated by whether there is a limit to how long we can live. The long-held record for lifespan is 122 years, and it doesn’t look as if that is going to be broken soon. The more pressing question is the pattern of life and death after age 95 or so.
Not so long ago it was a surprise that people were living so long. Now we constantly hear “we are all living longer”. But recent mortality data in the UK surprised in the opposite direction: more people have died than expected. It’s complicated, but it looks like a slowing down rather than a reversing of the trend towards longer lives. We are still likely to keep living longer. Policy makers and anyone planning retirement need to keep anticipating longevity improvements.