Actually, many attained that age... The "average lifespan" extension we see as a great benefit of modern medicine is almost entirely due to reductions in infant mortality, and deaths due to childhood diseases. Someone at the turn of the 20th century (or even back at the turn of the previous) who had already made it to 30 had an average life expectancy comparable to a 30 year old today (maybe ~3-5 years less, as I recall).
Yup. That important point is missed by a lot of people. Hey, I like modern medicine as much as the next guy. Anti-biotics are good. Dialysis is good. Lots of modern medicine is very nice to have. But the fact is: infant mortality is where we’ve really made the gain. Average life expectancy has increased because fewer babies die young. As you say: 100 years ago there were plenty of elderly folks. And they were working.
Dang it, you made me do research. It may take some time for me to forgive you for that. I hope your happy.
According to the website called lonestar.edu the average lifespan from 1900 to 1910 was 47.3 years for men and 46.3 for womyn.
From 1910 to 1920 it was 48.4 for men and 51.8 for women.
From 1920 to 1930 it was 53.6 for men and 54.6 for women.
By definition, we move from "the early 1900s" to the mid 1900s after that so that's where my research ended. And none to soon I might add.
It would appear the trick was getting to 30 years of age in the first place.
I’ve read that the average age in the early 1900’s in our country was upper 40’s.....