Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A good innings?

If you know me you might guess that this, despite the Ashes beginning tonight, is not a post about cricket (because I don't like it*) - but about death. How long can one reasonably expect to be around?

I think most people at 7 years old, at 16 or even at 26 blithely assume that they'll at least make it to 65. The state charges you for a pension, so most people must get there, right?

Around 25% don't. That's a big number, huh? Specifically: on mortality rates in 1980, the chance of a newborn boy e.g. me getting to 65 were 74%. The good news is that the figure has now risen to 84%. Women fare better overall, living 4-5 years longer than guys. Interestingly, the gender-gap is narrowing.

But still. I have a 1 in 7 chance of not getting to 65.

I was playing roulette the other day. I thought I'd be safe, betting on red mostly. Ah.. green zero might come up once in a while. Maybe I'd see it once that night? Four times it came up. Once when I'd bet half my cash on red. The odds on zero are 1 in 37.

At least life expectancy for men has increased by 4 years in just the last 20. That's pretty stunning?

A final thought. You ever have those days where you want to sell everything you own and put it all on red?

Watch a guy from London try it.

Stats taken from the Office of National Statistics. Roulette info from Wikipedia.

(*I love it)

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