In this essay, I discuss the esoteric but important topic of longevity calculations.

How do we calculate the longevity of a person born in, say, 1950? The analogy would be to look at how many people born that year died in 1950, 1970, 1990, 2010, 2030 and 2050. The problem is that we only have actual data for the first three of those time periods. The reality is that we do not know the lifespan of people born in 1950, much less the lifespans of people born much more recently

UPDATE: Another article on fundamental determinants of Social Security’s viability was provided by Roger Lowenstein in the New York Times. Unfortunately, he buys into the analogy between Social Security and a pension plan, in that he focuses on the state of the “trust fund” as an indicator of Social Security’s condition.

For Discussion. What information would you want to have in order to estimate longevity for people born in 1950 or in 1970?