You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.





Life Expectancy

Average Life Expectancy

There is the common misconception that people in the medieval world did not live long past 30. It is true that the life expectancy at birth in Britain at this time was around 30, though is due to high infant mortality rates which skews the data. If you managed to make it to 21, then life expectancy was a respectable 64.

There’s a nice idea called actuarial escape velocity. Advances in medicine and technology mean that human life expectancy in the West is currently increasing at the rate of 0.2% a year, every year. If it gets to the point where it’s increasing by more than a year every year, in theory, people can look forward to an indefinite lifespan (barring accidents etc). But we’re not there yet. As far as we can tell, maximum human lifespan has remained pretty much unchanged for 2,000 years. Life expectancy at birth is longer but that’s because infant mortality rates have fallen. It tells us nothing about the life expectancy of a 60-year-old.

Long-Lived Communities

Parts of the world where people seem to live unusually long lives are called 'blue zones'. Blue zone status is claimed for the Greek island of Ikaria, Okinawa in Japan, the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, and Bama Yao County in southern China, amongst others. People study them to see what, if anything, they have in common - austere diets, afternoon naps, plenty of exercise, hard work, mutually supportive societies, etc - but some statisticians think the whole effect can be explained by chance: if you study a large enough number of small enough communities, by the law of averages some will have a higher average age than others.

J. M. BARRIE (1860-1937)

I am not young enough to know everything.


It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.

The World Record

Every eight months, on average, the world’s oldest person dies. In other words, eight months is the average time anyone holds the title of 'world’s oldest living person' before dying themselves. This was briefly skewed upwards by the extreme longevity of Jeanne Calment , who died in 1997, aged 122 years and 164 days. She had hogged pole position for more than two years.

Things that record holders have attributed to their long lives include:

  • Leandra Becerra Lumbreras (1887-2015): Eating chocolate, sleeping for days on end and never getting married.

  • Arbella Erwing (1894-2008): Clean living and minding her own business.

  • Magomed Labazanov (1890-2012): Abstaining from alcohol, tobacco - and women.

  • Jean Calment (1897-1997): Drinking port, fencing, smoking and eating two pounds of chocolate a week.

  • Filomena Taipe Mendoza (1897-2015): Only eating things she’s grown in her own garden.


The longest lived animal was a quahog clam that lived to be 507 years old.

Men who have positive initials like LOV or WIN live 4.5 years longer than those with negatives ones, like BAD or PIG.

President Mugabe has been in power 50% longer that the lifetime of the average Zimbabwean.

ROBERT FROST (1874-1963)

A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age.

Women didn’t start to outlive men until the late 19th century.

There are over 13,000 people in the UK who are aged 100 or older. 

The lifespan of a donkey is 30-50 years, as compared to a horse's 25-30.