Life expectancy

How old will we get in the future?

This section of the Trend Scenario is about how old we will get in the future and how our healthy life expectancy will develop. We look at questions such as: What will life expectancy be in 2040? How many years of good health will we have by 2040? What will be the leading causes of death in 2040? The aim of the Trend Scenario is to identify future societal challenges for public health and health care. The Trend Scenario is not a prediction but rather an exploration of possible developments between now and 2040. It is based on the continuation of historical trends with no new policies being implemented. The projections take into account future population growth and changes in the age composition of the population (population ageing). Wherever relevant and possible, it also includes future changes in the occurrence of, for example, diseases and determinants. The Trend Scenario is based on assumptions about how trends will continue over the next 25 years. However, how these will evolve is uncertain. The Trend Scenario presents just one of the possible future scenarios. The background document about the methods provides further information about the uncertainties concerning the projections.

The main developments in the Trend Scenario

Question 1: What will our life expectancy be in the future?

  1. Life expectancy will increase from 81.5 years in 2015 to almost 86 years in 2040.
  2. The chance of living to a very old age will increase substantially.
  3. The number of people aged 100 years or more will almost quadruple between now and 2040.

Question 2: What will our healthy life expectancy be in the future?

  1. The increase in life expectancy in perceived good health will more or less equal the increase in total life expectancy by 2040.
  2. We will gain hardly any years without chronic diseases, but we will gain five years without activity limitations.
  3. In 2040, at the age of 65 years, we will have another 14 years in perceived good health ahead of us and 16 years without activity limitations.

Question 3: What will we die of in the future?

  1. In the future, cancer and cardiovascular diseases will remain the leading causes of death.
  2. In addition, more people will die from the effects of dementia.

What will our life expectancy be in the future?

In the Trend Scenario, life expectancy at birth will rise between 2015 and 2040 from over 81 to almost 86 years. This means that over the next 25 years we will gain over a day per week on average. This is roughly the same as the growth in life expectancy over the last 25 years.

Also in the future, women will live longer than men. Over the last 25 years the life expectancy of men grew faster than that of women. Over the next 25 years, though, it will increase just as fast for both men and women. The absolute difference in life expectancy between men and women is currently 3.4 years and this will remain virtually the same up to 2040 in the Trend Scenario.

Read more

Indicator(s) used: Life expectancy at birth.

Source(s) used: Statistics Netherlands (CBS) population forecast, data processed by RIVM.

Further information:

 

The Trend Scenario shows that over 5 percent of people who were born in 1990 will live to be 95 years or older. Around 10 percent of people who were born in 2015 will live to be this age, to increase to 20 percent of people born in 2040. The chance of living to be 75 years and 85 years or older will also increase considerably in the future. The percentage of the population who will live to at least the age of 50 will increase only slightly in the future and is close to 100 percent. So, relatively few people will die before they reach the age of 50.

In this graph, the survival of somebody born in, for example, 2015 has been calculated on the basis of the mortality rates observed in that same year. Past experience has shown that this often produces an underestimation, as mortality improves over time as a result of, for example, the improved prevention and treatment of diseases.



Read more

Indicator(s) used: Chance at birth of living to 50, 75, 85 and 95 years.

Source(s) used: Statistics Netherlands (CBS) population forecast, data processed by RIVM.

Further information:

 

In the Trend Scenario, the number of people aged 100 years or more will increase from over 1,800 in 2015 to almost 7,000 in 2040. The number of women aged 100 years or more will increase from over 1,550 to almost 5,000, and the number of men aged 100 years or more will increase from 250 to 2,000. The number of women aged 100 years or more will therefore grow faster in absolute terms, but in relative terms the number of men aged 100 years or more will grow faster. This is because the life expectancy of men has risen faster over the last few decades than that of women. The number of people aged 90 and over will increase in the Trend Scenario from around 117,000 in 2015 to almost 340,000 in 2040.

Read more

Indicator(s) used: Number of men and women aged 100 years or over.

Source(s) used: Statistics Netherlands (CBS) population forecast, data processed by RIVM.

Further information:

Our life expectancy will continue to increase

What will our healthy life expectancy be in the future?

Total life expectancy is higher than life expectancy in perceived good health. So, we will not feel healthy every year of our life. In the Trend Scenario, life expectancy in perceived good health at birth will increase between 2015 and 2014 from 65.0 years to 69.5 years for men and from 63.4 years to 67.0 years for women. The increase in the number of years during which we feel healthy is therefore 4.4 years for men and 3.6 years for women. Total life expectancy will increase in this period by 4.4 years for men and 4.2 years for women. This means that we will spend virtually all the years we gain between 2015 and 2040 in perceived good health.



Read more

Indicator(s) used: Life expectancy at birth and life expectancy at birth in perceived good health.

Source(s) used (in Dutch): Statistics Netherlands (CBS) population forecast (in Dutch); CBS Health Survey , data processed by RIVM.

Further information:

 

In the Trend Scenario total life expectancy at birth will increase between 2015 and 2040 by 4.4 years for men and 4.2 years for women. Life expectancy in perceived good health will increase by 4.4 years for men and 3.6 years for women (see previous graph). Life expectancy without activity limitations will increase during this period from 72.0 to 77.0 years for men (an increase of 5 years) and from 69.9 to 75.0 years for women (an increase of 5.1 years). The activity limitations referred to are those related to vision, hearing and mobility. Life expectancy without activity limitations will thus increase faster than total life expectancy. This is because in the Trend Scenario there will be a slight fall at all ages in the percentage of people who experience activity limitations. In the case of life expectancy without chronic diseases, there is only a small increase: from 40.7 to 41.3 years for men (+ 0.6 years) and from 37.8 to 38.2 years for women (+ 0.5 years). So in the future we will gain less than a year without chronic diseases, but we will gain around 4 years in perceived good health and 5 years without activity limitations.

Read more

Indicator(s) used: Absolute increase in years between 2015 and 2040 of life expectancy at birth, life expectancy at birth without activity limitations, life expectancy at birth in perceived good health, and life expectancy at birth without chronic diseases.

Source(s) used: Statistics Netherlands (CBS) population forecast (in Dutch); CBS Health Survey; Netherlands institute for health services research (NIVEL) Primary Care Database, data processed by RIVM.

Further information:

 

In the Trend Scenario total life expectancy at the age of 65 years in 2014 will be 22.0 years for men and 24.4 years for women. Life expectancy in perceived good health at the age of 65 will then be around 14 years for both men and women, and life expectancy without activity limitations at the age of 65 will be 17 years for men and 15 years for women. The activity limitations referred to are those related to vision, hearing and mobility. However, in 2040 at the age of 65 years we will have only a few years without chronic diseases ahead of us: 2.7 years for men and 2.4 years for women.

Hence, most of the years that people aged 65 still have ahead of them in 2040 will be years without activity limitations but with chronic diseases. Compared with 2015, the Trend Scenario shows in particular an increase in life expectancy without activity limitations at the age of 65 years. This will increase for both men and women by around 3 years. Life expectancy in perceived good health will increase by over 2 years, and there is hardly any increase in life expectancy without chronic diseases at the age of 65 years (not shown in graph).



Read more

Indicator(s) used: Life expectancy at the age of 65 years in 2040, life expectancy at the age of 65 years without activity limitations in 2040, life expectancy at the age of 65 years in perceived good health in 2040, and life expectancy at the age of 65 years without chronic diseases in 2040.

Source(s) used: Statistics Netherlands (CBS) population forecast (in Dutcht); CBS Health Survey; Netherlands institute for health services research (NIVEL) Primary Care Database , data processed by RIVM.

Further information:

We will gain five years without activity limitations by 2040

What will we die of in the future?

In the Trend Scenario, most people will die of cancer and cardiovascular diseases in 2040, too. Cancer includes lung, breast and prostate cancer. Examples of cardiovascular diseases are coronary heart diseases and heart failure. Still, between now and 2040 the percentages of total deaths accounted for by cancer and cardiovascular diseases will decrease. Despite this decrease in percentage, the absolute number of cancer deaths will increase by 2040 (not shown in graph). This will be a result of the ageing of the population; cancer occurs predominantly in older people.

The number of deaths from cardiovascular diseases will decrease by around 5,000 (not shown in graph). Cardiovascular diseases will also occur more often among the elderly, but here the decreasing mortality as a result of better prevention and treatment will cancel out the effect of the ageing of the population. The percentage of total deaths accounted for by mental disorders and neurological diseases will increase in the future. Various types of dementia are included in these two disease groups. In the future many people will die from dementia (see next graph). The percentages of deaths due to infectious diseases and external causes, such as traffic accidents or personal accidents, will also increase, while the percentage of deaths due to respiratory diseases will decrease slightly.

Read more

Indicator(s) used: Percentage of total deaths by cause of death (ICD main groups).

Source(s) used (in Dutch): Statistics Netherlands (CBS) Cause-of-death statistics, data processed by RIVM.

Further information:

 

In the Trend Scenario, the number of people who die from dementia will almost triple from around 14,000 in 2015 to almost 40,000 in 2040. Dementia is a syndrome that can be caused by various diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Lewy body disease. These diseases occur predominantly in old age. The ageing of the population therefore explains a large part of the increase in deaths from dementia. However, the fall in deaths from cancer and cardiovascular diseases (see previous figure) will contribute to this increase as well, as more people will survive these diseases and die from dementia instead. Other causes of death from which more people will die in the future include heart failure and personal accidents. Diseases that will cause fewer deaths in 2040 compared to 2015 include breast cancer, coronary heart diseases and stroke. The total number of deaths will increase in the Trend Scenario from 147,000 in 2015 to 192,000 in 2040.



Read more

Indicator(s) used: Absolute number of deaths by cause of death (VTV selection of diseases), top 10 in 2015 and 2040 combined.

Source(s) used (in Dutch): CBS Cause-of-death statistics, data processed by RIVM.

Further information:

 

Dementia will become a major cause of death

Diseases

What diseases will we have in the future?

Home

Back to the home page for the other sections of the Trend Scenario

Health

How healthy will we be in the future?

This Trend Scenario is the first section of the VTV-2018. The next section comprises three thematic reports about the future demand for health care, technology and wider determinants of health. In June 2018 the final report will be published, which will provide an integrated picture of the main future societal challenges for public health and health care. The report will also look at how we can deal with these societal challenges.

The VTV Trend Scenario is about the future. Figures and information about historical trends and the current state of affairs can be found on the websites (in Dutch) De Staat van Volksgezondheid and Volksgezondheidenzorg.info.