Correction

What is my life expectancy? And how might it change? Published 1 December 2018

Time of correction: 4pm 18 May 2018

A correction has been made to the Cohort life expectancy at birth chart in this article. This was due to the labels for males and females being transposed in the underlying data. We apologise for any inconvenience.

What is my life expectancy? And how might it change?

A man aged 65 years in the UK can now expect to live, on average, to 85.6 and a woman of the same age to 87.8, new figures reveal. A boy born today could expect to live to 89.5, whilst a girl could expect to live to 92.1.

Use our calculator to find out your life expectancy, your chance of living to 100 and how long you’re likely to need to make your pension pot last.

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Were you surprised? You’re not the only one! Anecdotal evidence suggests that we typically under-estimate our life expectancy.

Improved working conditions, reduced smoking rates and improved healthcare have all contributed to increasing life expectancy from generation to generation.

We don’t know whether life expectancy will rise

While we are now living longer than ever, in recent years these improvements in life expectancy in the UK have slowed down.

In the first half of the 20th century life expectancy had improved rapidly, largely driven by reducing infant mortality rates and deaths from infectious diseases. Towards the end of the 20th Century there was also a steep decline in mortality rates at the oldest ages.

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Infant and child mortality rates are now at such low levels that it’s unlikely that further reductions will affect future life expectancy. Additionally, it is possible that other factors like medical advances, which have historically driven life expectancy improvements, may also stop having so much of an effect.

There is a debate as to whether the recent slowing down in life expectancy improvements is the start of a new trend, or whether it is just a blip in a trend of continuous improvement.

It is possible that obesity levels continue to rise and new diseases emerge, which could reduce future improvements in mortality. Anti-microbial resistance could increase and this may also play a part in slowing down life expectancy improvements.

Conversely, it is also possible that there will be lower incidences of cancer, heart disease and strokes through behavioural and lifestyle changes as well as new technology. Biomedical advancements in the future may also allow for better treatment of these common diseases, reducing their mortality rates.

We don’t know what life expectancy will look like in the future. But we can use historical mortality data and demographic expertise to make assumptions about future mortality, which are used to generate future life expectancy projections.

Notes:

  1. Life Expectancy

Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time someone is expected to live. This tool calculates cohort life expectancy for men and women based on their sex and current age. Life expectancy is calculated using projected mortality rates for the UK from the 2016-based population projections developed by the Office for National Statistics.

  1. State Pension Age

Your state pension age depends on your particular date of birth. This tool assumes your age as at 1st June of the year you were born to estimate your State Pension Age and the year you reach that age. For further information please refer to the ‘Related Links’ below.

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