Prospective Longevity: A New Vision of Population Aging

  • ISBN 9780674975613

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From two leading experts, a revolutionary new way to think about and measure aging.

Aging is a complex phenomenon. We usually think of chronological age as a benchmark, but it is actually a backward way of defining lifespan. It tells us how long we've lived so far, but what about the rest of our lives?

In this pathbreaking book, Warren C. Sanderson and Sergei Scherbov provide a new way to measure individual and population aging. Instead of counting how many years we've lived, we should think about the number of years we have left, our "prospective age." Two people who share the same chronological age probably have different prospective ages, because one will outlive the other. Combining their forward-thinking measure of our remaining years with other health metrics, Sanderson and Scherbov show how we can generate better demographic estimates, which inform better policies. Measuring prospective age helps make sense of observed patterns of survival, reorients understanding of health in old age, and clarifies the burden of old-age dependency. The metric also brings valuable data to debates over equitable intergenerational pensions.

Sanderson and Scherbov's pioneering model has already been adopted by the United Nations. Prospective Longevity offers us all an opportunity to rethink aging, so that we can make the right choices for our societal and economic health.
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