People born in 2030 will live into 10th decade
Life expectancy among humans is expected to surpass 90 – a feat previously thought impossible by scientists – for the first time, according to new research.
Evidence suggests that women born in South Korea in 2030 will have an average life expectancy of 90.8 years, while men could reach 84.1 years. People around the world can expect to live longer, while those in the UK who reach 65 in 2030 can look forward to an additional 20- 23 life years.
The research was carried out by scientists from Imperial College London in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO). It examined those from high-income countries such as the US, Canada, the UK, Germany and Australia, as well as those from developing economies like Poland, Mexico and the Czech Republic.
Lead researcher Professor Majid Ezzati from the School of Public Health said: “We repeatedly hear that improvements in human longevity are about to come to an end.
“Many people used to believe that 90 years is the upper limit for life expectancy, but this research suggests we will break the 90- year-barrier.
“I don’t believe we’re anywhere near the upper limit of life expectancy – if there even is one.”
The UK’s average life expectancy at birth for women will be 85.3 years in 2030, while the average life expectancy of a UK man will be 82.5 years. The team also predicted a 65- year-old man in the UK in 2030 could expect to live an additional 20.9 years, while a 65-year-old woman in the UK could expect 22.7 more years.
Men in Ireland, meanwhile, were among the highest placed when it came to new life expectancy figures. At 83.2 years, men born in 2030 had the fourth-highest life expectancy in Europe, while with 21.7 additional life years expected for 65-year-olds in that year, Irish men placed fifth in the world behind Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Korea. The research showed that the gap between men and women in terms of life expectancy continues to narrow.
“Men traditionally had unhealthier lifestyles, and so shorter life expediencies. They smoked and drank more, and had more road traffic accidents and homicides,” Professor Ezzati said. “However as lifestyles become more similar between men and women, so does their longevity.”
Colin Mathers, co-author from the WHO, added that the overall increase was due to those over 65 living longer combined with the decline in premature deaths among those in their 40s and 50s. The authors agreed that the results mean that there is a responsibility for Governments around the world to make health and social care a priority in the future.
“The fact that we will continue to live longer means we need to think about strengthening the health and social care systems to support an ageing population with multiple health needs,” said Professor Ezzati.
“This is the opposite of what is being done in the era of austerity. We also need to think about whether current pension systems will support us, or if we need to consider working into later life.”