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So, to be clear, I've done a thing here that you shouldn't do, which is apply population statistics to individuals. But i did it for a good

Of course there are many things that are likely to affect your age of death as much as or more than your current age (income, location, race, medical history, etc.) But also you gotta understand (and statisticians will hate this video for this reason and probably others) that the an average of life expectancy doesn't tell you much at all about when an individual will die. For example, an change in child mortality changes life expectancy far more than a change in elderly mortality because the addition or removal of small numbers to an average will affect it dramatically.

This is why you'll often hear that the life expectancy in some period of time was 35 years old. That makes it sound like people were all dying around 35, but in fact ages were distributed all over, but there were far more deaths of children and babies, which pulled the average way down. 80 year olds in the middle ages weren't, like, some kind of mythical creature. "Life expectancy" just isn't a super useful statistic for telling you what length of life to expect.

Also, it's not even /that/ good at telling you things about public health. People are supposed to die, so a better measure (which Australia actually uses) is "Years of Potential Life Lost" or YPLL

The US has a surprisingly bad YPLL because of suicides, drug overdoses, homicide, and car accidents.

That allows you to study whether diseases kill lots of people who are at the end of their lives or people who might otherwise live a quite a long time. Like, dementia kills mostly very old people while suicide and accidents kill lots of young people. We shouldn't give those deaths the same weight.

And then lastly, if you want to go all the way down this rabbit hole, you should google "Global Burden of Disease" which endeavors to measure beyond years of life lost and into the quality of those years. Like, disease can cause life-long chronic pain or disability, and those things should be considered as well as death.

OK, I am surprised by how much I just typed about this!

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Good morning, John.  I have some good news.  Some bad news, but some good news.  There's this number that people use as part of our understanding of public health in the world, kind of a surrogate for the overall health of a population, though not a great one.  It's called life expectancy.  Very simply, it is the average age at which a person in our country will die.  That number has gone up a lot in the last 200 years for people, but interestingly, it's also gone up for you, person watching, and it goes up for you every day and probably not for the reason you're thinking.

So the life expectancy of the average dude in the US is 76, but for me, it's 78.  That's nice, I got an extra couple of years on the average dude, look at me.  How did I do that?  Well, here's a statistic that might sound a little bit more surprising at first but will help you figure out why.  The average person will die at 76, but the average 76 year old will die at 86, and the average 86 year old, they will die at 91.  

So I was hanging out with Thomas Frank earlier today, of CollegeInfoGeek.  He's 26 years old.  His life expectancy is 77 years old.  Mine is 78.  What is up with that is that he has to live for like, 11 more years before he gets to my age.  Very sadly, some people will die, not very many, but some between the ages of 26 and 37.  I, on the other hand, because I am 37, will never have died between the ages of 26 and 37.  I just can't do it.  So every hour you live, your life expectancy goes up.

The number of hours you have left to live goes down but not at one hour per hour.  Every hour of the past--this makes my brain hurt--you are closer to death, but you are less than one hour closer to death, and that's a small comfort.  I had this dumb idea when I was younger that since the life expectancy of a person in America is 78 that once you got to 78, you could just die at any time.  Like a stiff wind blows and you just, I'm out.  But it is not until you are 114 that you have a better than average chance of dying in the next 365 days.  What?!

Now, to be fair, there are many years before that when you have a better than average chance of dying in the next thousand days, which is why most people don't get to 114, but by and large, statistically, everybody can expect to have at least a year.  When you turn 114, though, you have a more than 50% chance of not hitting 115.  That's the statistics.

Another thing worth noting is that life expectancy takes a snapshot of this very moment with the death rates for every person at every age.  It is actually not a measure of when you will die, because that death rate will change over time and everyone knows that, and mostly, we hope, barring some kind of catastrophic solar flare-induced apocalypse, death rates will continue to go down.  Like, the like expectancy for a 25 year old in 1960 was about 70 years old, but it turned out that that 25 year old, or the population of 25 year olds, ended up dying on average significantly after the age of 70.  So yeah, that thing, which doesn't actually have to do with life expectancy as a statistic, makes your life longer and nobody has to die.  

So that, John, is a plus.  I guess if you weren't getting enough death talk on Dear Hank and John, here it is on Vlogbrothers.

Speaking of, three things.  The first one, this animation that somebody made of a Dear Hank and John segment where we talk about bizarre pizza deliveries, I liked.  Second, Patreon made a really great video about our production studio here in Missoula and I would like to share that as well, it's just fantastic, and lastly, I know that this took a little bit of time, but we finally have all of the grant recipients for the Project for Awesome and have sent all of their checks off.  We sent a lot of them earlier but we have sent the last ones.  Not all perks have been sent, but most of them have, and I've been working really hard on mine, I'm sorry, and number four, I'm going to VidCon next week, aaahhhhhhhahhhahhh.  There are still tickets available if you wanna come check it out, and John, I think that I will see you next in real world, in Los Angeles, before I see you next on the computer screen, so looking forward to that.