My colleague, Torbjorn Skardhamar, and I recently carried out a study on the relationship between alcohol- and drug-related criminality on the one hand, and mortality on the other. We found that people with drug-related criminal records in Norway have a mortality rate that can be up to 15-16 times higher than people with no criminal record. We also found that people with a police record of driving under the influence of alcohol have significantly shortened life-spans compared to the overall population.
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.
Over the last decade England and Wales has seen an increase in the total fertility rate (TFR) from a low of 1.63 in 2001 to 1.9 in recent years. While the TFR measures the current quantum of childbearing it can be influenced by changes in the timing of childbearing. Potential drivers of the increase in the TFR include increasing fertility among older women, increasing fertility among women in their 20s and possible influence from government benefits (e.g. tax credits and maternity and paternity leave) (ONS, 2013).