Longevity has frequently been used as a synonym for life expectancy in research on aging populations. However, longevity can also refer to one’s being a long-lived individual or the condition of living to an advanced age. During the past century, life expectancy increased markedly in all countries worldwide. This entry traces the history and future of longevity and the factors that are likely to influence life expectancy as well as those that affect individual longevity.

Historical Perspective

In the United States, life expectancy at birth went from 47.3 to 78.7 over the 110 years from 1900 to 2010. The country with the longest average life expectancy is currently Japan, followed by Italy, Switzerland, Singapore, and Iceland. Increasing longevity has been accompanied by an increasing number and ...

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