DefinitionLife expectancy is an estimate of the expected average number of years of life (or a person's age at death) for individuals who were born into a particular population. Life expectancy at birth measures health status across all age groups. Life expectancy at age 65 is often used as a measure of a healthy adult population.
NumeratorNot applicable. For information on life expectancy calculation, please see [http://ibis.health.state.nm.us/resource/LifeExp.html].
DenominatorSee numerator note.
Data Interpretation IssuesLife expectancy at birth is strongly influenced by infant and child mortality; life expectancy later in life, such as at age 65, reflects death rates at or above a given age and is independent of mortality at younger ages.
Why Is This Important?Life Expectancy is often used to gauge the overall health of a community. Shifts in life expectancy are often used to describe trends in mortality. Being able to predict how populations will age has enormous implications for the planning and provision of services and supports. Small increases in life expectancy translate into large increases in the population. As the life expectancy of a population lengthens, the number of people living with chronic illnesses tends to increase because chronic illnesses are more common among older persons.
How Are We Doing?Women typically outlive men. Using the mortality experience of New Mexicans in 2017, females living in New Mexico can expect to live 81.2 years, and males can expect to live 75.3 years.
Once a person lives to age 65, their overall life expectancy increases. New Mexico females age 65 years can expect to live another 21.7 years, or to age 86.7, males age 65 can expect another 19.2 years, or to age 84.2.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?The life expectancy of New Mexico residents at age 65 is somewhat better than that their U.S. counterparts.
What Is Being Done?Life expectancy has been increasing for... well, since records have been kept. Now that people are living longer, it is important to look at ways that those added years can be lived in good health. Exercise, healthy diet and weight, not smoking, moderate use of alcohol and injury prevention habits such as wearing seat belts all contribute to a healthy life span.
Improvements in life expectancy increase the proportion of older individuals living in society. Policy-makers must be aware of this trend in order to provide viable and attractive options for elderly persons who require assistance with activities of daily living.
Evidence-based PracticesPrevention and control of infectious diseases has had a profound impact on life expectancy during the 20th century. In the United States life expectancy at birth from 1900 to 2000 increased from 48 to 74 years for men, and from 51 to 79 years for women. In contrast to life expectancy at birth, which increased sharply early in the century, life expectancy at age 65 improved primarily after 1950. Among U.S. men, life expectancy at age 65 rose from 12 to 16 years from 1950 to 2000, and among women from 12 to 19 years. Improvements in nutrition, hygiene, and medical care contributed to decreases in death rates throughout the lifespan.