The Washington Post “Wonkblog” recently displayed the following life expectancy graph:
If something sounds too unbelievable to be true, then it’s probably because it’s not true. Even if it’s printed in the mainstream media.
The source of the graph is psychology professor Dianna Theadora Kenny. Kenny calculated “longevity” by making a list of all the musicians who died and then “calculating the average age of death for each musician by sex and decade of death.” This would only provide an accurate life expectancy if there were the same number of musicians who are in all age groups, which there (obviously) are not. Kenny made no attempt to count the number of 28 year old musicians who didn’t die, which is what you would need to accurately calculate the life expectancy of musicians as a group.