How Long Do We Live?


While talking about raising the retirement age, Ryan Grimm caught Alan Simpson peddling some misleading life expectancy numbers. Chait piled on. Aaron Carroll explains how improved infant mortality rates greatly skew the data:

[I]f you made it to 65, even back in 1950, you could expect to be on Social Security for 14 years. In 1970, if you made it to 65 and qualified for Medicare, you could expect to live for about 15 years on the program. So a lot of people were making use of these programs, for a lot of years. The second thing to notice is that life expectancy for someone who lives to 65 and qualifies for these programs, hasn’t gone up as much, or as quickly, as people think.