K-Tipp article «Altersrenten: Politiker rechnen falsch» from 19 September 2018

The figures on life expectancy calculated by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) are correct. In its article «Altersrenten: Politiker rechnen falsch» from 19 September 2018, K-Tipp calculated the average age at death and not life expectancy. Average age at death is determined by calculating the average age of all persons that have died. This figure depends, therefore, on the population’s age structure. The greater the number of old people, the higher the average age at death. Even if the likelihood of dying is the same for any two given years, the average age at death will be higher for the year in which there are more old people in the population. This effect of the population’s age structure is removed when life expectancy is calculated on the basis of a life table. This means that the life expectancy calculated by the FSO is comparable over time and between different countries despite age structures that can vary widely.
The figures used by K-Tipp to calculate average age at death do not concern only deaths. K-Tipp used a table containing the number of OASI pensions in Switzerland by age and sex from different years to deduce the number of deaths by age and sex based on differences between the number of pensioners in two different years. In so doing, K-Tipp did not make a distinction between people who died and people who emigrated from Switzerland.  This estimate results in a lowering of the average age at death calculated by K-Tipp.

Neuchâtel, 24 September 2018


Federal Statistical Office Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel



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