The Evolution of Health Care:

Negative for the Future Population?

 Laurie Gilbert  

The progress being made everyday in the health departement is truly amazing, but what we may not think about are the effects this could have on the future population. Will life expectancy ever reach a plateau? What effects will the growth of life expectancy have on the growth of the worldwide population? Those questions are certainly something we should consider thinking about.

The constant evolution of our healthcare system and all the different technologies being developed are making the life expectancy grow higher and higher everyday. For example, an average person who lived during the time of the Roman Empire might have expected to live 25 years. In Quebec, a child born in 2015 will be expected to live a lot longer. The life expectancy of a man is 80.2 years and a women’s 84.1. We can clearly note that the life span has grown exponentially. But will it ever reach a plateau? Many scientists, economists and demographers have done their researches and have different opinions. According to demographer James Vaupel, every published estimate of the maximum life expectancy has been broken within a few years of its prediction. But, many graphics about life expectancy have been made and it seems that the growth is actually starting to slow down, showing that it might actually get to a plateau at some point.

There are many reasons due to the fast growth of life expectancy. The gains in life expectancy were mostly due to changing mortality patterns at a young age. It was once common that every third or even second child died, but not anymore. Looking at how much life expectancy differed by age in 1845, a new born could expect to live up to 40 years old and a 70 years old up to 79 year olds. Today this span is much smaller, from 81 to 86. This is because the chance of dying at a younger age has been steadily decreasing, which means that the equality of life spans lived increased.

According to Hans Rosling, we shouldn’t be panicking thinking about overpopulation. Even if the evolution of health care directly affects the evolution of life span, this does not mean we will be overpopulated soon. According to Mr. Rosling, within the end of the century, we are expecting the end of fast population growth. The number of children stopped increasing in 2000 when we reached peak child. He predicts that life expectancy will grow a little more, but the fact that people are generally having not more than two children will balance everything when we will reach a worlwide population of 11 billions.

In the end, we shouldn’t be scared of technological evolution. Its goal is only to make our lives easier. Before panicking, we should always make sure that we are well informed on the subject. This can bring us to think about another question. Will we end up loosing our senses to a point where we believe everything technology tells us? Will « googling » become easier than reasoning ourselves?



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