Longevity in paradise

We have written here repeatedly about dramatic increases in life spans in the United States.

People are living longer today — a lot longer. Whether it is because of better medical care or healthier lifestyles, today’s population is living a lot longer than its parents or grandparents.

The Centers for Disease Control has a ton of studies that zero in on longevity.

For example, in 1950, there were 150,697,000 people living in the United States. Of that number, only 577,000 were 85 or older.*

Jump ahead to 2012. Our total population had more than doubled to 313,914,000. But the number of people living past 85 had increased tenfold to 5,887,000.

Moreover, the total percentage of our population that can be classified as elderly is increasing dramatically. In 1950, 12,195,000 people, or 8.09 percent of the population, were 65 or older.

In 2012, 43,145,000, or 13.74 percent of the U.S. citizenry, were at least 65. That represents a more than 50 percent increase in the number of folks classified as elderly.

And, if we live in Hawaii, the news is even better. Using 2014 CDC statistics, the report “The Making of America 2013-2014” found that our state’s residents had the highest life expectancy in the country. That study reported that an average person born in Hawaii in 2014 could expect to live 81.3 years.

Contrast that with Mississippi, the lowest ranked of the states, where life expectancy in 2014 was 75.0 years for the average resident born that year.

Lucky we live Hawaii.



Table 1. Resident population, by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin: United States, selected years 1950-2012


(Portions of this editorial have appeared previously in The Maui News.)

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.


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