| Swiss News
When people mention life expectancy, it is likely they are referring to average life expectancy at birth. In Switzerland, in 2020, this figure was 81.0 years for men and 85.1 years for women. However, this does not mean an average 80 year-old man should expect to live only 1 more year or an average woman only 5.1 more. In fact, an average 80 year-old man in Switzerland is expected to live for another 8.4 years and a woman of the same age another 10.1 more years.
The longer we survive the longer our expected life span becomes. A man in Switzerland who makes it to 30 has an expected life span of 81.8 years, 0.8 years more than at birth. By 50 this figure has risen to 82.5 years (+1.5 years) and by 65 to 84.3 (+3.3 years). By the time a man in Switzerland has made it to 80, their expected life span has jumped to 88.4 years, 7.4 years higher than at birth. For women the same gap between expected lifespan at birth and at 80 is 5.0 years. An average 80 year-old woman in Switzerland could expect to live to 90.1 years of age.
Interestingly, the life expectancy gap between men and women narrows to 1.7 years by the age of 80, down from a gap of 4.1 years at birth.
Why does expected life span rise with age?
Life is a risky unpredictable project. Every year we survive is a year of life-threatening risks averted and a bit more of our time on this planet cemented into history. In probabilistic terms, if you’re currently 80, the chance of surviving another 10 years is higher than surviving 90 years from your birth date. This is because of the latter comes with the additional possibility of dying between your birth and your 80th birthday.
The life expectancy numbers cited above are an overall measure of average Swiss life expectancy. Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office (FSO) also calculates life expectancy based on the year of birth. This allows us to look specifically at the average life expectancy of someone turning 80 this year (individuals born in 1941). According to number crunchers at the FSO, a man in Switzerland born in 1941 could expect to live another 9.3 years and a woman born the same year another 11.3 years.
So if you’re 80, average, and living in Switzerland, you could expect to live for roughly another 10 years. Unless something out of the ordinary comes along.
More on this:
FSO data (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now
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