Believe it or not, half of all the people in history to have reached age 65 are alive right now. The human life span has increased since prehistoric times when it measured about 33 years in the Upper Paleolithic period to an estimated 67.2 years in 2010. This is an average, of course. The People's Republic of China, for example, has a higher life expectancy of 84.4 years.
The Facts of Life:
- The oldest documented person lived to be 122 — a French woman named Jeanne Calment. She died in 1997.
- Women live longer than men — 5 to 10 years longer. Of the living people older than 100 years, 85% are women.
- The world reproductive rate is on the decline, currently at 2.6 babies per woman. The world's population sits at about 6.8 billion.
- Even in such wealthy countries as Japan, Germany and France, there are fewer than two people working to support government financing for each retired person.