Life Expectancy

Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the point where half the population under study dies. So life expectancy is only meaningful for a population. It is not an estimate of how long you will live. However, that's the way many choose to look at it.

Life expectancy is a good starting point for

  • retirement planning: how long does your retirement income need to last?
  • estate planning: how large an estate

Estimating Your Life Expectancy

These calculators estimate your life expectancy:

Compiled life expectancy is available from

Life insurance companies often build life expectancy calculators into the projection tools that advisors use for insurable lives.


Data can be tortured to show different results. There may be biases, depending on the source.

Purpose Possible Bias From Provider Why
retirement planning overestimating life expectancy shows a need for more retirement income
estate planning underestimating life expectancy favours insurance over investing your money elsewhere
life annuities overestimating life expectancy suggests that you'll receive retirement income for more years

Since life expectancy is a statistic, it's helpful to look at the consequences of dying 5 or 10 years before or beyond life expectancy.

Canadian Life Expectancy At Birth

The life expectancy of Canadians keeps improving. A child born in 2001 has a life expectancy of 82.2 years for females, 77.1 for males (source: Statistics Canada). The table shows the trends.

Year Males Females
1920-22 59 61
1930-32 60 62
1940-42 63 66
1950-52 66 71
1960-62 68 74
1970-72 69 76
1980-82 72 79
1990-92 75 81

Source: Statistics Canada (last modified on 2004-02-03)

This data is for the Canadian population, which includes lives that are too unhealthy to insure. Life expectancy is higher for insurable lives.


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