The good news is that many of us are living longer. (Afterwards, we will look at the bad news.)
A new study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) tells us that in 2010 the average US woman lived for 80.9 years and the average male, 76.3 years. You can see below that the recent numbers reflect increasing longevity for many of us.
Male life expectancy, by county, in 1985 and 2010:
Meanwhile, with similar increases, women continue to live longer than men.
The bad news, though, has 2 parts:
1) On the county level, the numbers for men varied considerably from a high of 81.7 years to a less than 65 low. The span for women across the country was a high of 85 and a low at 73. We should note that counties with high longevity exceeded averages in Japan and Switzerland, the world’s leaders.
2) Chronic disability will become more widespread among the elderly population.
So, with a baby boomer population bulge for the elderly, with us living longer, with huge longevity disparities in the US and with more disability during the last decade of life, the nation’s spending on entitlements has to skyrocket. Add to that predictions that Medicare will have insufficient funds by 2026 and Social Security, 2033, and I suggest we have only one solution: Economic growth.
Sources and resources: If you go to just one source, do look at the IHME life expectancy and obesity interactive maps of the US. They are fascinating and unsettling. After looking at the report itself, an overview, and the source of my WSJ summary graph, you can decide if you agree with their emphasis on poor results or mine on affording a future solution.