American Lifespan Shorter: Americans Face Lower Life Expectancy, Later Retirements, and More Sickness

American Lifespan Shorter: Americans Face Lower Life Expectancy, Later Retirements, and More Sickness

Americans are dying sooner, retiring later, and are experiencing more sicknesses than a generation before, according to new calculations made by the Society of Actuaries, which puts the changing American lifespan into perspective.

Data released recently shows that the American lifespan and health are declining, with millions of middle-aged workers facing shorter and less active retirement compared to previous generations.

The data showed that the U.S. age-adjusted mortality rate, which measures the number of deaths per year, rose 1.2% from 2014 to 2015. That represents the first year-over-year increase since 2005 and only the second time that the stat jumped more than one percent since 1980.

To make matters worse, more American workers are waiting to retire. Part of that is a result of government policy, which is pushing the age at which people can claim their full Social Security benefits from 65 in 2002 to 67 in 2027, meant to be pegged to an increased life expectancy.


Alongside government incentives to remain in the workforce, Americans are electing to do so all on their own. Almost one in three Americans aged 65 to 69 are still working, and nearly 20% are actively employed in their early 70s.

This could be seen as a natural response to longer lives that will need more money in order for retirees to remain solvent, but as demonstrated by the mortality rates, that may be more wishful thinking than fact.

Americans are also less healthy than they used to be, with many in their late 50s having more serious health problems versus people at the same age 10 to 15 years ago, according to the journal Health Affairs.

On top of these concerns, U.S. government cutbacks may make saving for retirement that much harder. With the White House tax plan being formulated behind closed doors in Congress, recent reports have claimed that the U.S. is looking to put a cap on the 401(k) pension-matching plan. Such a cap would harm the amount Americans could store for their retirement free from taxes and bolstered by employer matching.

Consider that the recent Nobel Prize winner Richard H. Thaler won the award in economics for showing how people need to be “nudged” toward making the best decisions for all manner of things, including saving for retirement, a 401(k) reduction would harm many Americans that are already suffering from sickness, lower life expectancy, and longer work lives.



Americans Are Retiring Later, Dying Sooner and Sicker In-Between,” Bloomberg, October 23, 2017. 


Categories: News, Retirement Crisis