We all know people, at least in The West, LIVE LONGER nowadays – right?
But DO they? Thing is, this is based on STATISTICS. And we all know how reliable THEY are, don’t we? “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.”
Or “You know of course, that 78.437% of statistics are just made up.”
However, it is not always Statistics’ FAULT. Sometimes it’s the twits who COMPILE them that are responsible for distortions. Take life expectancy.
You see, a while back, I was putting together my family tree – and this necessitated my poring over a whole SLEW of Hatched, Matched and Dispatched records (Births, Marriages and Deaths).
And one thing that quickly became obvious, was the APPALLING infant mortality rate that existed, before WW1.
But it appeared that those who were lucky enough to see their twelfth birthday, were as likely to see their seventieth – as they are TODAY.
Speaking personally, I grew up in a damp, BITTERLY cold house. And my one abiding memory of my first six years In This Place was being COLD all the damn time.
I would lay in bed, watching the clouds of condensation soar upwards every time I breathed out. Furthermore, at the age of five, I ALMOST DIED from pneumonia. And this was only in the FIFTIES!
Of course nowadays, thanks to government heating and insulation grants, synthetic clothes, modern building codes and so on, British kids do not know what cold IS.
Which is why I can empathise with the kids of a hundred years ago – and understand why they died like flies.
But the point of this piece IS… from the MASS of documents I scanned through, it seems to me the high infant mortality rate of yesteryear DISTORTS STATISTICS.
I mean, if you remove the figures for those who died before, say age fourteen, from the TOTAL figures, I am sure you will find that the ACTUAL life expectancy of our forefathers – assuming they MADE it to adulthood – was not very far short of OURS, TODAY.
Someone with access to ALL the data should check this OUT.
[UPDATE! Apparently, they have. I recently read an article written by a medic in a professional journal that echoed EXACTLY what I wrote above – the writer even used the same “lies, damned lies and statistics” quote.] (Have I been plagiarised? Dammit, I’ll SUE!)
[SECOND UPDATE! Wikipedia now has a piece on this: it confirms the phenomenon too. Apparently people in the Middle Ages, often quoted as having a lifespan in their 30s, actually lived to their mid-SIXTIES – just TEN years less than C20th Man – once you leave out those infant deaths.]
ADDENDUM: Of course, governments prefer to leave the infant death stats IN their computations – so they can CON young people into believing that by the time THEY reach old age, they can expect to live to A HUNDRED.
That way, the politicians figure they can convince the plebs they will not need their STATE PENSIONS until they at least reach their SEVENTIES…