Just for fun (well, it depends on what you think is entertaining) I decided to do one of my usual raids of Statistics Denmark’s tables. This time, we are looking at the life expectancy of Danish 60-year-olds from 1981 onward. Unfortunately, SD didn’t have readily available series for 1980 and earlier.
But the main point is that in 1981 the average 60 year-old man could expect to live until the age of 77 (average life expectancy for all age groups is lower because people die at all ages) while the average woman could expect to live until the age of 81,5. The lines are fairly flat until the mid-1990s when average life expectancy begins to increase so that today’s average 60-year-olds can expect to live until the age of 80,5 and 83,5 years, respectively.
Obviously, this is an indirect indicator of the health of 60-65-year-olds – we should remember that the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and cancer has improved in the last 30 years – but if we compare somebody who was born in 1950 he or she is likely to be in better health than somebody with the same social background born in 1920. To this we should of course add that the average person born in 1950 is likely to be much better educated than his or her counterparts born in 1920 and this influences the general picture.