How Long Will You Live?

You can’t know how long you will live, but you can get a pretty good idea. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides mortality data on deaths and death rates completed for 2021 for the US life expectancy. In 2021, life expectancy at birth was 76.4 years for the total U.S. population—a decrease of 0.6 year from 77.0 years in 2020.

Male: Age 73.5

Female: Age 79.3

In 2021, life expectancy at age 65 for the total population was 18.4 years, a decrease of 0.1 year from 2020. For females, life expectancy at age 65 decreased 0.1 year from 19.8 in 2020 to 19.7 in 2021. For males, life expectancy at age 65 was 17.0 years in 2021, unchanged from 2020. The difference in life expectancy at age 65 between females and males decreased 0.1 year from 2.8 years in 2020 to 2.7 in 2021.

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In 2021, 9 of the 10 leading causes of death remained the same as in 2020. The top leading cause in 2021 was heart disease, followed by cancer and COVID-19.

Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis became the 9th leading cause of death in 2021, while influenza and pneumonia dropped from the list of 10 leading causes. The remaining leading causes in 2021 (unintentional injuries, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer disease, diabetes, and kidney disease) remained at the same ranks as in 2020.

From 2020 to 2021, age-adjusted death rates increased for 8 of the 10 leading causes of death and decreased for 2. The rate increased 3.3% for heart disease (from 168.2 in 2020 to 173.8 in 2021), 1.7% for cancer (144.1 to 146.6), 22.5% for COVID-19 (85.0 to 104.1), 12.3% for unintentional injuries (57.6 to 64.7), 5.9% for stroke (38.8 to 41.1), 2.4% for diabetes (24.8 to 25.4), 9.0% for chronic liver disease and cirrhosis (13.3 to 14.5), and 7.1% for kidney disease (12.7 to 13.6).

Rates decreased 4.7% for chronic lower respiratory diseases (36.4 to 34.7) and 4.3% for Alzheimer disease (32.4 to 31.0).

These mortality tables are used in the life insurance industry. To begin, life insurance companies look at the age of an individual compared with the rest of the group.

The American Council of Life Insurers defines life insurance companies grouping individuals into pools in order to share the financial risks presented by dying prematurely, needing long-term care or becoming disabled. Grouping makes it possible for a company to offer affordable protection against financial loss.

The price you pay for insurance is based on your gender, age, and the state of your health among other possible factors. Insurers gather information about applicants so they can group together people with similar characteristics and calculate a premium based on that group’s level of risk. Those with similar risks pay the same premiums; for instance, you may pay a lower premium if you do not smoke. On the other hand, if you have a chronic illness, you may be charged a higher premium. This system is known as risk classification.

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