How Much Has Life Expectancy Increased Since 1960?

The BBC News website recently featured a quiz based on Hans Rosling’s TV show, The Truth about Population. Judging by the results, people in Britain have a relatively poor understanding of how much life expectancy has increased over the last few decades. At present, average life expectancy in the world is approximately 70 years. However, 56% of respondents thought that it was 60 years or lower. And 76% of university graduates thought it was 60 years or lower. Only 30% of respondents, and only 20% of university graduates, gave the correct answer of 70 years.

Continue reading

Policy Paradigm Shift: The Need to Consider Human Capital and not Just Population Growth in Evaluating Population Trends

The twentieth anniversary of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) is approaching. As a strategic meeting around world population issues is in preparation (ICPD beyond 2014), this is a good  time to review past achievements and define new challenges. The UNECE countries of Europe, Central Asia, and North America constitute a globally relevant laboratory in which much can be learned about population trends and the relationship between policies and outcomes that may subsequently play out in other parts of the globe.

Continue reading