Tuesday, August 30, 2005

South Koreans mansei!
Long live South Koreans!

Korea is a nation of heavy smokers, heavy drinkers, reckless drivers, and traffic dodgers* but according to a report by South Korea's Ministry of Health and Welfare, Korea's life expectancy will be the second-longest in the world, topped only by Japan's, by 2020.

Longevity will each 81 years in 2020, second only to Japan's 84.7 years, so say data from the United Nations. I don't know if this is accurate, but they already say that South Korean life expectancy will be around 78 years this year, behind Japan's 82.1 years and Italy's 79 years (China's is 71.4 years and and the U.S.'s is 77.5 years).

The same report warns of Korea becoming an "aged society" where a dangerously low birth rate, 1.19 children per mother in 2003, means that the average age will get older and older (Japan and Italy, which have the aforementioned long life spans, also have very low birth rates).

The CIA World Factbook, has different statistics, however. For women, it is 79.76 years, but for men it is only 72.19 years, maybe due to all the smoking, drinking, reckless driving, sleeping around, and choking on one's own vomit on a frozen street in Chongno on Friday nights. The CIA Factbook also gives the "fertility rate" as 1.26. Those 0.07 babies are important: they're paying for my social security.

Of course, if North Korea launches Korea War II, longevity could be cut in half, but we're trying to be optimistic here.

* To be fair, there are many, many, many exceptions to all four things on this list, probably constituting a majority of the people, but these are major life-shortening behaviors that come to mind.


  1. So if they stop the binge drinking and the chain smoking, does that mean the average life expectancy will increase to 100? Wow...

  2. Maybe... but the taxi drivers make take out a few of the octagenarians when they try to cross the street.

  3. On the other hand those same octagenarians take out all young people on the subway and buses...


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