Just a thought but the other day I got hold of a spreadsheet from my company pension provider (a large private sector company with over 20,000 employees) showing the ages at death of pensioners since the early 1990's. I spent a few hours going through it and found that the average age of death hadn't changed that much (total average of nearly 4,000 deaths was 73.69). So this got me thinking and I went for a walk around the local graveyard and had a quick scan of the headstones, most seemed to have made it to their 70's, 80's and 90's even a century ago apart from quite a few cases of infant mortality (which would bring the average down). I then thought about my own family history and most had lived well into their 70's and 80's despite having fairly hard manual jobs although there were some cases of infant mortality in the 1940's.

So based on my largely unscientific analysis I wonder if the rise in life expectancy is real or whether it's just down to removal of the infant mortality element. Of course a cynic might say that it's in the interests of governments to tell populations that life is getting better or the insurance industry to say the same to justify lower annuities.

Anyone for a conspiracy theory?