The Global Health and Well-Being

Increasing Life Expectancy and Aging Populations

Astonishing increases in life expectancy in tandem with falling fertility rates are changing the world demographic landscape drastically. In the past 50 years, life expectancy at birth has been growing steadily across the world from an average of 46.5 years in 1955 to 65.2 years in 2002. This degree of improvement in life expectancy varies from 9 years in developed countries to 17 years in the high-mortality developing countries including most of Africa and Asia to 26 years in the low-mortality developing countries [1] (Figure 9.1). The improvement in human life expectancy started more than 150 years ago in Europe because of multiple factors including ...

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