Predicting human life expectancy in the decades ahead is a big business, as the vast pension and life insurance industries rely upon these forecasts. If the forecasts are dramatically wrong, and they will be just as soon as any significant advances in rejuvenation biotechnology reach the clinic, then financial upheaval lies ahead for all of the counterparties, insurers, and governments who bet against larger than expected increases in human life. The actuarial profession pays attention to the state of medical research aimed at intervention in the aging process, and the more mainstream treatment of age-related disease, and their estimates of life expectancy at a given future date have been rising in past years. This is the most recent example of this process at work:
A new study forecasting how life expectancy will change in England and Wales has predicted people will live longer than current estimates. The researchers say official forecasts underestimate how long people will live in the future, and therefore don't adequately anticipate the need for additional investments in health and social services and pensions for the elderly. Researchers developed statistical models using death records, including data on age, sex, and postcode, from 1981 to 2012 to forecast life expectancy at birth for 375 districts in England and Wales. They predict that life expectancy nationally will increase for men from 79.5 years in 2012 to 85.7 in 2030, and for women from 83.3 in 2012 to 87.6 in 2030. The longevity gap between men and women has been closing for nearly half a century and will continue to get narrower. The forecasts for 2030 are higher than those by the Office of National Statistics, by 2.4 years for men and 1.0 year for women.
People living in the longest-living areas in 2012 - found in southern England and well-off parts of London - are expected to live seven or eight years longer than those in parts of urban northern England, such as Blackpool, Liverpool and Manchester, and South Wales - equivalent to the difference in national life expectancy between the UK and Sri Lanka or Vietnam. By 2030, the gap is projected to grow to more than eight years. "The bigger gains in life expectancy we predict will mean pensions will have larger payouts, and health and social services will have to serve an older population than currently planned. We also forecast rising inequalities, with bigger increases in lifespan for people in affluent areas than those in disadvantaged areas. This means wealthy people will benefit more from health and social services than poor people, and therefore should be prepared to pay its costs through higher taxes."