Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Bill O’Reilly Life Expectancy Theorem Applied to California

Paul Krugman said he needed a drink after seeing this:

Bill O’Reilly explaining that of course America has lower life expectancy than Canada - we have 10 times as many people, so we have 10 times as many deaths.

OK, I had a few drinks last night too but am all sober now and thinking how this pearl of wisdom applies to estimating life expectancy for the state of California. First, some background – the CIA World Factbook tells us that life expectancy in the U.S. is 78.1 years and our population is 307.2 million, while in Canada – life expectancy is 81.2 years and its population is 33.5 million. The Census Bureau tells us that California has a population less than 37 million so doesn’t the O’Reilly theorem suggest that life expectancy should be in excess of 80 years since California’s population is roughly the same as that of Canada?

Then again – California has the highest population of any state in the Union so one might also infer from the O’Reilly theorem that is life expectancy is among the lower of any of the 50 states in the Union, which would put it below 78 years. OK – I need another drink!


Anonymous said...

I'd join you, but I'm incapacitated from drinking over the shit that is said on the Bill Maher show.

Myrtle Blackwood said...

How is 'life expectancy' over an entire nation or state calculated, I wonder?

Walking around the cemetery in my home town this week it was unsettling to observe that the vast majority of deaths in the last 5 years appeared to affect those in their early 60s and earlier.

My sister points out that maybe a third (maybe more) of my school classmates are dead. I'm 54.