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Longevity: Extending Life Span Expectancy

  • Synopsis: Information on life span including health physical and diet factors that may increase human life expectancy in the future.

Definition: Longevity (Life Expectancy)

The term "longevity" is sometimes used as a synonym for "life expectancy" - however, the term "longevity" is sometimes meant to refer only to especially long lived members of a population, whereas "life expectancy" is always defined statistically as the average number of years remaining at a given age.

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The word "longevity" is sometimes used as a synonym for "life expectancy" in demography or known as "long life", especially when it concerns someone or something lasting longer than expected.

There are many difficulties in authenticating the longest human life span even by modern verification standards, owing to inaccurate or incomplete birth statistics.

Various factors contribute to an individual's longevity. Significant factors in life expectancy include gender, genetics, access to health care, hygiene, diet and nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and crime rates. Evidence-based studies indicate that longevity is based on two major factors, genetics and lifestyle choices. Twin studies have estimated that approximately 20-30% of an individual's lifespan is related to genetics, the rest is due to individual behaviors and environmental factors which can be modified. In addition, it found that lifestyle plays almost no factor in health and longevity after the age of 80, and that almost everything in advanced age is due to genetic factors.

View our Average Life Expectancy Chart listing average male and female life span by country.

Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men

Women as a rule normally outlive men, and this was as true in pre-industrial times as today. Reasons for this include smaller bodies (and thus less stress on the heart), a stronger immune system (since testosterone acts as an immunosuppressant), and less tendency to engage in physically dangerous activities. It is also theorized that women have an evolutionary reason to live longer so as to help care for grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Oldest Humans Have Lived For:

The Gerontology Research Group validates current longevity records by modern standards, and maintains a list of super-centenarians; many other unvalidated longevity claims exist.

Record-holding individuals include:

While various other individuals have lived between 110 and 114 years, the above mentioned people are the only ones known to have lived longer than 114.

Pre 20th century individuals attaining lifespans of 75 years or greater, include Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Cato the Elder, Thomas Hobbes, and Michaelangelo.

Will you live longer if you come from a family who have lived long lives

Recent research from the Long Life Family Study (LLFS) confirms that severe mortality-associated diseases are less prevalent in the families of long-lived individuals than in the general population. (Are Members of Long-Lived Families Healthier than Their Equally Long-Lived Peers-Evidence from the Long Life Family Study) . An international collaborative study of the genetics and familial components of exceptional survival, longevity, and healthy aging.

Researchers found that seven conditions were significantly less common for siblings in a long-lived family, than for similarly aged controls:

Somewhat in contrast, the LLFS siblings were more likely to be receiving care for arthritis, cataract, osteoporosis, and glaucoma. Spouses, offspring and offspring spouses of these long-lived sib-ships shared in the significantly lower risk for Alzheimer's, diabetes, and heart failure. Thus, both genetic and environmental factors appear to be in play. Since most of the offspring generation are not yet seventy-five, it will be fascinating to see whether this early evidence for a health advantage in both genetic and marital relatives of long-lived families strengthens as the cohort ages.

Is aging a disease? Scientists call for new classification of aging:

In a paper recently published in Frontiers in Genetics, scientists at Insilco Medicine highlight the need for more granular and applied classification of aging in the context of the 11th World Health Organization's (WHO) International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11) expected to be finalized in 2018.

The paper explores the evolution of disease classification practices and the progress made since William Cullen's seminal Nosolagae Methodicae synopsis published in 1769. It discusses some of the additions to the ICD-10 including some of the less obvious conditions like obesity that may set the precedent for classifying aging as a disease. While there is clear disagreement among demographers, gerontologists and bio-gerontologists on the subject, classification of aging as a disease is likely to unite both scientists and medical practitioners in the effort to prevent the pathological age-related processes and attract more resources to aging research. In part, the report calls for creating a task force of scientists to more thoroughly evaluate whether to provide a more granular and actionable classification of aging as a disease in ICD-11.

"Aging is a complex multi-factorial process leading to loss of function and a very broad spectrum of diseases. While the notion of whether aging itself is a disease is usually disputed, classifying it as such will help shift the focus of biomedicine from treatment to prevention. Classifying aging as a disease with multiple 'non-garbage' ICD codes may help create business cases for large pharmaceutical companies to focus more R&D resources on this important field. Considering the unprecedented increases in life expectancy and the heavy burden of medical costs in the developed countries, maintaining the human body in the disease-free youthful state for as long as possible is not just an altruistic cause, but a pressing economic necessity", said Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, CEO of Insilico Medicine, Inc.

The paper is available online via the Frontiers open access system at

Paper citation: Zhavoronkov A and Bhullar B (2015) Classifying aging as a disease in the context of ICD-11. Front. Genet. 6:326. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2015.00326

Will Humans Live Longer in the Future

The U.S. Census Bureau view on the future of longevity is that life expectancy in the United States will be in the mid-80s by 2050 (up from 77.85 in 2006) and will top out eventually in the low 90s, barring major scientific advances that can change the rate of human aging itself, as opposed to merely treating the effects of aging as is done today. However, recent increases in the rates of lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, may drastically slow or reverse this trend toward increasing life expectancy in the developed world.

Some argue that molecular nanotechnology will greatly extend human life spans. If the rate of increase of life span can be raised with these technologies to a level of twelve months increase per year, this is defined as effective biological immortality and is the goal of radical life extension.

Quick Facts: Longest Living People

(The Gerontology Research Group validates current longevity records by modern standards, and maintains a list of super-centenarians)

Statistics: Life Expectancy

Life expectancies in different types of countries:

Population longevities increasing as life expectancies grow:

Average Life Span Expectancy Chart - How Long Will I Live - Ian Langtree - (2015-02-09)

Latest Life Expectancy Publications

  1. Epigenetic Clock Distinguishes Between Chronological and Biological Age
    Traditional clocks measure the passage of chronological time and age, an epigenetic clock can also measure biological age.
  2. Average Life Expectancy Set to Increase in Developed Nations by 2030
    Study analysed long-term data on mortality and longevity trends to predict how life expectancy will change in industrialised countries by the year 2030.
  3. Europeans Living Longer, But Not Always in Good Health
    Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 European Commission/OECD report shows policies aimed at promoting good health, preventing diseases, and effective healthcare could save lives and billions of euros.
  4. Individual Lifespans Becoming More Similar
    life expectancy and variation of individual lifespans tightly bound together by mathematical relationship.
  5. Coenzyme NAD+ Has Potential to Postpone Aging
    Researchers find the substance NAD+ bridges gap between two main aging theories, repairs to the DNA and poor functioning mitochondria.

Full List of Life Expectancy Documents (36 Items)


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