This Long American Life

AP US Government and Politics

What was U.S. life expectancy at birth in 1900?

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What was the most surprising thing about this chart?

  3. According to this chart how does your life expectancy compare to your parents' and your grandparents'?

  4. What is the big story in this chart?

  5. Why do you think life expectancy has risen so high, so fast?

  6. Based on the chart, what do you predict U.S. life expectancy will be in 2100 right about when you hit 100?

  7. What is a consequence of growing life expectancy in the US?

  8. Is there any downside of longer life expectancy in the US?

  9. How do you think U.S. life expectancy compares to that of extremely poor countries like Myanmar or Sierra Leon?

  10. What the heck happened in 1918 to make life expectancy decline so dramatically?

  11. In the comments section, discuss how increased life expectancy affects the U.S. political system:


Learning Extension

Read the National Institute on Aging's report on life expectancy before time runs out!


Action Extension

Increasing life expectancy is a good thing, but along with aging, come certain problems for individuals and nations. Some experts have argued that we must increase immigration to help deal with our aging native-born population. Others say that because of our aging population we will have to change the terms of our social security program. Contact your president and explain three steps the federal government should take to deal with our aging population:


Visual Extension

What do you think life expectancy was like in all parts of the world about 1000 years ago?