Hillary Clinton in 2016: The actuarial odds

According to actuarial data from the Center for Disease Control, four percent of 65-year-old white woman will die before November 2016. Now, Hillary Clinton isn’t the average 65-year-old white woman: She’s probably healthier than most, she’s rich, and she will have access to the best medical care. Her mother lived to age 92 (a 65-year-old white woman lives to a median age of 85 or 86). All of those factors improve her odds. Indeed, the University of Pennsylvania’s life expectancy calculator suggests Clinton’s life expectancy is more than 94 years, with a median of 96. According to my back of the envelope calculation, a 65-year-old white woman expected to live to 96 has a 99.2 percent chance of surviving the Iowa caucuses and a 98.9 percent chance of surviving the 2016 presidential election.

That’s about the same as other white female senators, cabinet secretaries, or first ladies who served after World War II. Only Jackie Kennedy, who died of lymphoma at 64, died before 78. That’s a lot better than white women generally: just 75 percent of all white women who live to age 60 make it to 77, compared to 96 percent of female senators, cabinet secretaries, and first ladies.