STATISTICS: Longer Lives

The average life span of U.S. citizens, well-fed, well-clothed, well-housed and well-medicated, is getting longer and longer. Meeting in New Orleans last week, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners—the state-government officials in charge of insurance matters—okayed a new mortality table that showed a dramatic rise in life expectancy since the current official table was approved in 1941. Back in 1941, as insurance actuaries figured it, the life expectancy of a newborn infant in the U.S. was 62 years; in the new table the figure is 68 years. The 1941-58 increase, largely a result of antibiotics and other medical advances,...

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