Estimated Life Expectancy in the Ancient World

Adapted from "Frier's Life Table for the Roman Empire,"
p.144 of T.G. Parkin, Demography and Roman Society (1992)
(fr. Bruce Frier's Landlords and Tenants in Imperial Rome, 1980);
cf. Coale & Demeny, Regional Model Life Tables and Stable Populations, 2nd ed. (1983).

 

Age
Projected
Life Expectancy
Approximate
Percent of Population
in Age Group
Rough Chance
of Being Dead
by the End
of the Year
0
21
4%
36%
1
33
10%
24%
5
42
11%
6%
10
44
11%
5%
15
46
10%
7%
20
48
9%
8%
25
51
8%
9%
30
53
8%
11%
35
56
7%
12%
40
58
6%
14%
45
61
5%
17%
50
63
4%
21%
55
66
3%
25%
60
69
2%
33%
65
72
1%
41%
70
76
0.8%
53%
75
80
0.3%
68%
80
84
1 in 1000
> 99%

 

For a 15-year-old to live to age 20 = about 93% chance

...to 25 = .93 x .92 = 86%
...to 30 = .93 x .92 x .91 = 78%
...to 35 = .93 x .92 x .91 x.89 = 69%
...to 40 = .93 x .92 x .91 x.89 x .88 = 61%
...to 45 = .93 x .92 x .91 x.89 x .88 x .86 = 52%
...to 50 = .93 x .92 x .91 x.89 x .88 x .86 x .83 = 44%
...to 55 = .93 x .92 x .91 x.89 x .88 x .86 x .83 x .79 = 34%
...to 60 = .93 x .92 x .91 x.89 x .88 x .86 x .83 x .79 x .75 = 26%
...to 65 = .93 x .92 x .91 x.89 x .88 x .86 x .83 x .79 x .75 x .67 = 17%
...to 70 = .93 x .92 x .91 x.89 x .88 x .86 x .83 x .79 x .75 x .67 x .59 = 10%
...to 75 = .93 x .92 x .91 x.89 x .88 x .86 x .83 x .79 x .75 x .67 x .59 x .47 = 5%
...to 80 = .93 x .92 x .91 x.89 x .88 x .86 x .83 x .79 x .75 x .67 x .59 x .47 x .32 = 1.5%
...to 85 = .93 x .92 x .91 x.89 x .88 x .86 x .83 x .79 x .75 x .67 x .59 x .47 x .32 x (< .32) = < 1 in 200