Forecasting U.S. Life Expectancy in an Age of Uncertainty

Justin T. Denney, University of Colorado at Boulder
Robert McNown, University of Colorado at Boulder

We employ model schedules and time series analysis to forecast future life expectancy to the year 2055. Our results show limited improvements in life expectancy for males and females in the United States: between the years 2005 and 2055, life expectancy at birth will increase 4.2 years for males, from 73.9 years to 78.1 years, and just 2.9 years for females, from 79.4 years to 82.3 years. Minimal gains in life expectancy suggest that negative health behaviors in the U.S. greatly contribute to stagnant improvements in length of life. The increasing severity of the obesity epidemic, a substantial lack of health insurance coverage and stability in levels of smoking, for example, may be cumulatively reaching critical levels. These results underscore the importance of policy and health initiatives aimed at improving the nation’s health and reveal important insight into possible limits to mortality improvement over the next five decades.

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Presented in Poster Session 7