Since 1840 life expectancy has risen by 2.5 years per decade: 3 months per year, 6 hours per day. This steady progress is the most remarkable regularity of human endeavor ever observed.
As life expectancy increases, the healthy span of life is increasing at about the same pace. Progress is due to the postponement of senescence to older and older ages.
If improvements continues - and there is no sign of any looming limit - then most children born since 2000 in countries with high life expectancy will celebrate their 100th birthdays. A male or female at any age today can expect to live - and to live in good health - a decade longer than the average male or female in his or her grandparents' generation.
The impact of the ongoing health and longevity revolution on individuals, society, and the economy will be comparable to and will occur sooner than the impact of climate change.
Max-Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging is an interdisciplinary and international co-operation between researchers drawn from demography, epidemiology, medicine, biology, mathematics and statistics. The center will endeavor to advance innovative research to discover the basic causes and key consequences of longer and healthier lives, including also its policy implications.
Why Biology? Why Demography?
Biodemography, the nascent field at the intersection of medicine, biology and demography, has great potential to fundamentally deepen the understanding of the causes of health and lifespan improvements, the prospects for and nature of future improvements, and the societal implications of the improvements.
The Max-Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging has a coherent focus on research to discover the basic causes and key consequences of age trajectories of health and longer lives. The focus is unitary, but the research is highly interdisciplinary. The scientists working at the Center are drawn from demography, evolutionary biology, epidemiology, mathematics and statistics.