Meeting the Institute of Medicine's 2030 US Life Expectancy Target

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Abstract

Objectives

To quantify the improvement in US life expectancy required to reach parity with high-resource nations by 2030, to document historical precedent of this rate, and to discuss the plausibility of achieving this rate in the United States.

Methods

We performed a demographic analysis of secondary data in 5-year periods from 1985 to 2015.

Results

To achieve the United Nations projected mortality estimates for Western Europe in 2030, the US life expectancy must grow at 0.32% a year between 2016 and 2030. This rate has precedent, even in low-mortality populations. Over 204 country-periods examined, nearly half exhibited life-expectancy growth greater than 0.32%. Of the 51 US states observed, 8.2% of state-periods demonstrated life-expectancy growth that exceeded the 0.32% target.

Conclusions

Achieving necessary growth in life expectancy over the next 15 years despite historical precedent will be challenging. Much all-cause mortality is structured decades earlier and, at present, older-age mortality reductions in the United States are decelerating. Addressing mortality decline at all ages will require enhanced political will and a strong commitment to equity improvement in the US population.

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