“Higher life expectancy: Dissecting its common misconception”

ALL of us ought to be happy that life expectancy in Malaysia has increased by 12 years, from 63.6 years in 1970 to 75.6 years in 2021. 

Does this mean that five decades ago, people in this country died a natural death at the average age of 63.6 years, and those alive now are expected to live up to around 75.6 years? 

Far from it. Life expectancy is always applicable at birth, meaning babies born today are expected to live for the next 76 years on average. 

But not for those born in 1970, as they were expected to live an average life of 63.6 years and that will be in 2033, just 11 years from now. 

Interestingly, life expectancy for babies born here in 1950 was 52.8 years. Those to be born in 2050 would be 80.46 years and reaching 86.62 years by 2100. 

As for myself, I have already surpassed my life expectancy by more than 20 years, thanks to free healthcare by the Government, eating a variety of food in moderation, exercising regularly and avoid riding motorcycles. 

One must understand that life expectancy is just a projection based on the data available, risks and likelihood. As the figure is for an average age, about half will die before their life expectancy, and the other half will surpass it.  

For most of us, our lifestyle would give us a clue of our life expectancy and how we should live.   

And one cannot use statistics like the above to project the life expectancy of Mat Rempits. They are aware that they can be seriously injured or even killed riding at breakneck speed but the thrill is too hard to resist for the daredevils, just like drug addicts. – July 12, 2022


YS Chan is Asean Tourism Master Trainer for travel agencies, master trainer for Mesra Malaysia and Travel & Tours Enhancement Course. He is also a tourism and transport industry consultant and writer. 

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia. 


Main photo credit: The New York Times

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