Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950565 | Print ISBN: 9780761928201 | Online ISBN: 9781412950565 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Life Expectancy and the Life Span
Dennis N. Thompson & Walter Colt
Two thousand years ago, in ancient Rome, the life expectancy of a newborn child was just 22 years. The life expectancy of a child born in the 1800s in Europe equaled 35 years. In the United States in 1900, life expectancy was approximately 47 years. But these figures do not mean that the average adult during these eras died at these ages. Life expectancy refers to demographic projections about the average length of life. And unless otherwise stated, the age reported represents life expectancy at birth for any given era. Life expectancy at birth has increased significantly over the past century, and it varies by gender, ethnic, and racial groups. In 2002, the National Vital Statistics Reports published life expectancy projections for the year 2000 (Arias, 2002). In the United States, White males born in the year 2000 could expect to live 74.8 years, Black males 68.2 years, White The ...