Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Data Briefing

Death clocks: How long have I got?

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 26 January 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j346
  1. John Appleby, chief economist, Nuffield Trust, London, UK
  1. john.appleby{at}

Knowing when you are going to die could help make life choices, but John Appleby finds that his life expectancy varies depending on who he asks

Data from the Office for National Statistics national life tables for 2013-15 show that over the past 33 years average life expectancy at birth for UK residents has been increasing by, on average, 13.1 weeks per year for boys and 9.5 weeks for girls.1 Period life expectancy (assuming no change in future death rates) at birth averaged across the three years of 2013 to 2015 are estimated to be around 79 years for boys and 83 for girls. The good news is that we are all living longer. The bad news is that we will all die … but when? Baby girls born in 2015 can’t all expect to live to 83. Some will die sooner, …

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