Is 75 The New 65? Wealthy Countries Need To Rethink What It Means To Be Old
In 1950, men and women at age 65 could expect to live about 11 years more on average.
Today, that number has gone up to 17, and the United Nations forecasts that it will increase by about five more years by the end of the century.
One consequence of the increase in life expectancy is that the proportion of the population above age 65 has increased, too. In policy analyses and in the media, increases in these proportions are frequently taken to mean that the population will keep getting older. This is often interpreted as warning of a forthcoming crisis.
In our study, published on Feb. 26, we explored the implications of this alternative view for assessing the likely future of population aging. We found that, using this new perspective, population aging in high-income countries will likely come to an end shortly after the middle of the century.
Years left to live at age 65
Today, the average 65-year-old can expect to live about 17 more years. The UN projects that this number will continue to increase throughout the century.