Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Death and Statistics in Singapore.

Singapore has a death rate of 3.41 per 1000 population (according to the CIA world fact book on Singapore).

That means that for every 1000 persons, in a given year, 3.41 of them will die. Or 0.341% annual death rate.

Another way of looking at that statistic or percentage is that every year, less than 1 person in 100 dies. This is the current statistic, but it is not sustainable. Let xkcd explain:
If fewer than one person out of every hundred dies each year (and enough are born to sustain the population) then the average person must have to wait over a hundred years to die—which is clearly not compatible with our current lifespans.
Yes, the 3.41/1000 death rate literally means that our average life span will be as much as 100 years. Which, as we know (from experience, burying - or cremating - our loved ones) is not reality.

What's the explanation?

Well, it is more of a delayed death. because of better health and better healthcare and safer work conditions and so on, where people used to die at 50 or 60, they now live longer. Delayed their death. So their deaths which would have contributed to the death rate in past years, were delayed or postponed. So instead of a death rate of 8 or 12 for example, we have a death rate of 3.41 per 1000.

How long before the old people "catch up" with death? Probably about 30 to 40 years.

This is not to say that if you managed to "cheat death" in your fifties, you would live to 80 or 90. Rather people die at a whole range of ages in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and a few in the 100s even in the past without modern healthcare, hygiene, or sanitation.

And today people still die in the 50s thru to 90s and beyond.

But it has shifted. Those who would have died in their 50s, now may live to the 60s, or 70s. Those who would have died in the 60s, now live to their 70s and perhaps beyond. So the deaths shifted and more people are delaying their deaths. But there is probably an upper range. Say 95 yrs. Beyond that age very few people survive. If you do survive to 100, people make a big deal out of it.

So how many people die each year?

If 3.41 persons per 1000 die, and there are 5.3m people, or 5,300 thousands of people, that's about 18,000 deaths a year.

That also means that the death rate is going to go up in the future. It has to.

We had a "baby boom". Now we are at or in the Silver Tsunami or Elderly Tsunami. This will be followed by a "Death Boom."

What the statistics show is that good health, nutrition, and safety regulations have reduced death, or rather postponed death for many people. However, eventually, people will die. About 20,000 people die each year. The death rate will soon double and then triple and maybe even quadruple or more.

It is inevitable. No matter what we do. The silver tsunami will become the death boom. And when it happens, it will be another thing we can blame the PAP for. :-)

Around 2020, we can ask the PAP, "why is our death rate rising? It used to be less than 4 per 1000. Now it is 4 times that! Or more! It's all PAP's fault!"

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