Difference between Lifespan and Life Expectancy

All good things must come to an end. The famous cliché is used many times and one can always hear it every now and again. Same is true for life as the human race is working hard to improve both the quality and quantity of it. There is certainly no cure to its inevitable end as it can be delayed but not avoided.

The quality and quantity of life is based on many factors and it is imperative that the quality is improved so that people can spend their days better. In this regard, you often come across terms such as lifespan and life expectancy. Although these two terms are similar, there are slight differences between them. Both deal with the subject of life but in their own way.

Life expectancy is the expected period of life for a group of people taking into consideration the historical data as well as the quality of life available to the people of that area or region. On the other hand, lifespan is the actual time period that a person spends on Earth as a living being. It is essentially defined as the period between the birth and death.


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    The term is generally used for humans, animal and plants though there is no bar on it and it is at times also used for the non-living objects as well. It deals with more than one concept including the actual time period of life and the maximum time period of life that is possible in a given species.

    Lifespan can vary with improvements in conditions of both living as well as non-living things. Proper care can add years to the life of anything and anyone.

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    Life Expectancy

    This is the term that is used to explain the expected age of a person belonging to a certain group of people or to a certain region. It generally takes into account the average ages from a period of time as well as improvement in overall living conditions.

    However, there are some flaws in the system. The average age that is taken also includes the infant mortality rate numbers which in case of it being high can actually distort the actual life expectancy.

    Currently the highest life expectancy in the world is in Japan which is close to eighty years. Life expectancy greatly depends on the lifestyle and the socio-economic conditions of that area.

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