How Many Americans Could Be Alive?

Magdalena Muszynska, Duke University

Life expectancy in the United States is lower than in many other highly developed countries. We are interested how this disadvantage translates into the number of hypothetical lives lost, their sex and age structure. The US population in 2004 is estimated in a component method projection using the lowest possible age-specific mortality in the last half a century and compared to its actual size. In addition, we distinguish between direct deaths and second and higher generation deaths. We show that if mortality had been as low as the best practice, the US population in 2004 would be by 14.3 million larger than its actual size. 1.6 million of the lives lost are those who were even not born. Women in reproductive ages whose lives have been lost (1.6 million) would otherwise give birth to over 68 thousand babies only in the year 2004.

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Presented in Session 158: Current Mortality Research Issues