The contenders of the future record life expectancy: the widening gap to Japan

Vladimir Canudas-Romo, Johns Hopkins University
Irene Dokko, Johns Hopkins University

As the world’s life expectancy leader, we seek to answer how Japan made, and retained this avant-garde status, and ultimately, whether it will continue to sustain its position at the top. The seven close contenders of the record life expectancy in the first years of the twentieth century are compared against Japanese average length of life. A simple breakup of life expectancy at birth allows disentangling and quantifying the specific contribution at each age to the gap in life expectancy: based on their truncated life expectancy, survival to advanced ages and life expectancy at advanced ages. The predominance of Japanese life expectancy at birth corresponds to the still evident low levels of mortality at older ages as opposed to the nearly equal or even lower survival at younger ages. Preliminary analysis of improvements in mortality at older ages confirm the likely future scenario where Japan continues to draw the line of the record life expectancy at birth.

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Presented in Session 3: Comparative perspectives on health and mortality of national populations