23 Jun 2022


Life expectancy and longevity

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Academic level: High School

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 348

Pages: 1

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Life expectancy is a term that is used to refer to the number of years that a person is expected to live in regards to the statistical average; the latter which is calculated on the general population ( Dowd, Blake & Cairns, 2010 ). It can also be described as the mean expected lifetime of an individual. Longevity, on the other hand, is used to describe the duration of a person`s life. It is mostly used to describe the increased length of years lived by an individual ( Dowd, Blake & Cairns, 2010 ). Despite being used interchangeably, the two terms have some differences which will be elaborated in the section below. 

One of the disparities between longevity and life expectancy is that the latter relates to the years a person would be expected to live, whereas the former pertains to the remaining number of years in the life of an individual. Also, life expectancy changes as an individual ages. Contrary to this longevity does not change with the increase in number of years lived ( Dowd, Blake & Cairns, 2010 ). Life expectancy is affected by mortality of individuals, implying that if there is a high rate of mortality the life expectancy reduces. On the contrary, longevity is not affected by mortality ( Dowd, Blake & Cairns, 2010 ). This is due to the fact that an estimate is taken on the individuals who are existing. It is also imperative to note that life expectancy is calculated as an average based on mathematical computations as opposed to longevity. 

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It is also evident that the life expectancy of both men and women are different. Such disparity exists because, from the onset, men have a higher mortality compared to the women. Also, the latter individuals have a greater biological advantage compared to men. When mutation of male individuals` chromosome X occurs, there is an extra chromosome available for compensation in female individuals which make it possible for them to defy aging ( Dowd, Blake & Cairns, 2010 ). Finally, the existence of female hormones has been indicated as one of the main reasons for higher life expectancy in females ( Dowd, Blake & Cairns, 2010 ). The reason behind this is based on the idea that hormones such as estrogen assists in the elimination of cholesterol which manages to protect women from impending ailments such as heart attacks. 


Dowd, K., Blake, D., & Cairns, A. J. (2010). Facing up to uncertain life expectancy: The longevity fan charts.  Demography 47 (1), 67-78. 

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