Maximum Life Expectancy

Essay by hfvira06College, UndergraduateA-, January 2007

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What is the maximum life of a human being? Can a human live forever? First, we must define what life expectancy is. Life expectancy refers to a prediction of the number of years left an individual will live at a given age. (Dudley L. Poston 2005) Typically, life expectancy is applied to at birth, but it can be calculated at any age. Currently, the average life expectancy in the United States is 78 years at birth. (Graph 1) The increase in life expectancy over the last century has been caused by technological advancements and better living conditions. While the oldest recorded person in the world is 122 years of age, we will see in the future another person with an age greater than 122 years. (Table 1)


Jeanne Calment

122 yr 164 d21 February 1875

4 August 1997

Shigechiyo Izumi

120? yr 237 d29 June 1865?

21 February 1986

Sarah Knauss

119 yr 97 d24 September 1880

30 December 1999

Lucy Hannah

117 yr 248 d16 July 1875

21 March 1993

Marie-Louise Meilleur

117 yr 230 d29 August 1880

16 April 1998

María Capovilla

116 yr 347 d14 September 1889

27 August 2006

Tane Ikai

116 yr 175 d18 January 1879

12 July 1995

Carrie C.


116? yr 88 d18 November 1874?

14 February 1991

Elizabeth Bolden

116 yr +15 August 1890


Kamato Hongo

116? yr 45 d16 September 1887?

31 October 2003

Table 1: Top 10 Oldest Humans (Contributors)

The start point for calculating life expectancy is to calculate the age-specific mortality rates of people in a population at each age. The ratio of the numbers of deaths to 1000 individuals is referred to as the crude death rate. An example of this would be a person having a 10% death rate age at the age...