Due to a calculation error, Unicef gave newborns in several countries an excessively high life expectancy.
This year’s newborn Danes can still not expect to be 102.1 years old, but “just” 93.7 years.
It informs Unicef on Wednesday, after the children’s organization has found a significant calculation error in its own predictions of how long children born all over the world in 2021 can expect to live on average.
– It is deeply regrettable, says Unicef in an email to Ritzau about the story, which was mentioned by several Danish media at the beginning of the year.
In some cases, the UN has miscalculated for over twenty years. It appears from a revised list of the different countries of the world.
One of the biggest calculation errors is found for Switzerland.
Here you can see that Unicef now estimates that children born in the country this year can expect to be 94.8 years old. That is 21.6 years less than on the original list, where Swiss babies stood to be 116.4 years on average.
In the email to Ritzau, Unicef explains that the figures became too “over-optimistic” in the original calculation model for the countries where the organization expects newborns to be 80 years and up.
According to Unicef, this is due to the fact that the UN’s population projection, World Population Projections, which is the basis for the forecast, only runs until the year 2100, which has now been taken into account.
– A simple method was used to continue past trends in the future with further assumptions and projections during that period. But the forecast for the older age group was sensitive to data used for younger age groups, and it yielded some over-optimistic figures for some Western countries, writes Unicef.
– After the data team used an alternative method that extends the timeline to 2130, got the numbers that better match the rate of increase in life expectancy.
In Unicef’s first forecast, Danish newborns also had a significantly shorter life expectancy than in Norway and Sweden, but this is no longer the case.
Unicef originally gave newborns in Norway and Sweden an expected average life of 109.9 and 110.2 years, respectively. It has now fallen to 93.5 years and 93.3 years, which is in line with Denmark.
/ ritzau /
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