How Long Did People Use To Live?

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By analyzing survivorship curves over the centuries, we can learn what’s changed about how - and when - humans die.

To learn more about this topic, start your googling with these keywords:
Life Expectancy At Birth: The average number of years a newborn in a particular group could expect to live.
Mortality Rate: The frequency of occurrence of death within a particular group during a particular time period.
Life Table: A table that shows the number of individuals within a group that survive from one year to the next until they are all dead.
Survivorship Curve: A plot of the data in a particular life table that shows the years on the x-axis and the number or percent of survivors on the y-axis.
Infant Mortality: The death of an infant before his or her first birthday.

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David Goldenberg | Script Writer, Narrator and Director
Sarah Berman | Illustration, Video Editing and Animation
Nathaniel Schroeder | Music

MinuteEarth is produced by Neptune Studios LLC

Sarah Berman • Arcadi Garcia i Rius
David Goldenberg • Julián Gustavo Gómez
Melissa Hayes • Alex Reich • Henry Reich • Peter Reich
Ever Salazar • Leonardo Souza • Kate Yoshida

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Ortiz-Ospina, E. (2017). “Life Expectancy” – What does this actually mean?. Our World In Data. Retrieved from:

Medina, L. et al. (2020). Living Longer: Historical and Projected Life Expectancy in the United States, 1960 to 2060. Retrieved from:

Hacker J. D. (2010). Decennial Life Tables for the White Population of the United States, 1790-1900. Historical methods, 43(2), 45–79. Retrieved from:

United Nations. 2019 Revision of World Population Prospects. Retrieved from:

Szmigiera, M. (2021). Projected global infant mortality rate 1990-2100. Statista. Retrieved from :

Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. (1910). United States Life Tables: Retrieved from:

US Department of Health, Education and Welfare. (1964). Life Tables. Retrieved from:

Arias, E. (2014). National Vital Statistics Reports. United States Life Tables, 2010. Retrieved from:
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