Are you a man born in 1970? You might live to be 141

Life expectancy
Life expectancy

A man born in Britain in 1970 may live past the age of 140, a study has suggested.

Human lifespan has been increasing over recent decades and is expected to swell again following a setback caused by the Covid pandemic.

Research looking at the longest known human life expectancy has claimed that if there is a maximum human lifespan, it is still far away from being reached.

Dr David McCarthy, an academic at the University of Georgia, created a model that projects how the maximum human lifespan will extend in the future.

He estimates that it is likely there is one person born in Britain in the 1940s who will live beyond the 122 years of age which marks the currently known oldest person ever.

Jeanne Calment died on Aug 4 1997, aged 122 years and 164 days. She was born in 1875 and is the oldest ever known person.

Dr McCarthy told The Telegraph: “Our data show that the longest lived UK female born in 1940 could live until between 120 and 128, and it is roughly the same for men.”

He added that 115 years old is the point where a person has a 50-50 likelihood of surviving another year.

His data also reveal that it is plausible, according to his model, that a man born in 1970 may live until 141. For females, this is expected to be up to a maximum of 131.

Men traditionally live shorter lives than women, but a recent study suggests this may be due to lifestyle factors and that, biologically, they may be able to outlive females.

Dr McCarthy warned, however, that the more recent data were less reliable than estimates of pre-war life expectancy, because there was not a big enough dataset of people.

“The more recent the cohort, the less precise our estimates are,” he said.

“For the very recent cohorts, it does look like there is this period of postponement for cohorts in the UK born between 1920 and 1914 and the statistical evidence in favour of that seems to be quite strong.”

However, the data is not yet strong enough to be sure about post-war maximum life expectancy, he said. It is possible it continues to grow, but it could also grind to a halt.

“If the model is correct, and the environment continues to be supportive of the extreme longevity of older people, then it looks likely that someone in the UK born in 1940 will live longer than 120,” he said.

“But all predictions about the future end up being wrong. So I wouldn't say this is a fact.”

The study is published in the journal Plos One.