search
Close Nav

Is Grim Life Expectancy Data a Cause for Optimism?

back to top
commentary

Is Grim Life Expectancy Data a Cause for Optimism?

February 23, 2021

life-expectancy-COVID-19

Last week revealed another grim toll from the pandemic. Life expectancy for men fell 1.2 years. That's by far the biggest drop in the post war era. But it is also a reminder how far technology and wealth have taken us. According to data from the Social Security Administration, in 1918 life expectancy fell 6.84 years. Advances in medicine and technology (for instance that so many could work from home) likely saved many lives last year. Another reason is the 1918 pandemic mostly killed people under 30, while COVID-19 mostly targeted older people. Also in 1918, fewer people made it to old age--life expectancy at birth was only 45 years old. 

And there's a reason for some optimism, in 1919 life expectancy increased 8.85 years--the largest increase in Social Security data's history. 

Allison Schrager is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Follow her on Twitter here.

Interested in real economic insights? Want to stay ahead of the competition? Each weekday morning, e21 delivers a short email that includes e21 exclusive commentaries and the latest market news and updates from Washington. Sign up for the e21 Morning eBrief

Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

e21 Partnership

Sign up for our MORNING E-BRIEF for top economics commentary:

By clicking subscribe, you agree to the terms of use as outlined in our Privacy Policy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ERROR
Main Error Mesage Here
More detailed message would go here to provide context for the user and how to proceed
ERROR
Main Error Mesage Here
More detailed message would go here to provide context for the user and how to proceed
Close