# How many people lived their whole lives between the coronations?May 5, 2023 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Approximately how many people on this planet lived their entire lives between the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953, and before the coronation of King Charles III on May 6, 2023, and so never in their lifetimes experienced a UK coronation?

Bonus points for narrowing down to current and former holdings.

This is probably a simple math/demographics question, but I'm idly curious and don't have the requisite math or demographics skills.
posted by General Malaise to Law & Government (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I guess you’d want to count all deaths between those two dates where the dead person was under ~70 years old?
posted by nouvelle-personne at 2:19 PM on May 5 [5 favorites]

Reasoning: start with this global population chart for 2020. Everyone on this chart meets your criterion, except those over 70, who make up only 2.5% of the total.

However, some people born after 1950 are dead already. How many? Probably not enough under-40s to make a huge difference in the total. For the 40–70 slices, I guessed that the bars should be as wide as the 30–34 slice. That would increase the total by about 8.5%; subtract 2.5% for the geezers.

(If you look at this 1990 chart, you see a traditional pyramid. My rough estimate would work much worse with that sort of distribution, because the lower slices are larger not just because of mortality, but because birth rates were so high. But birth rates have been declining for years, so we're getting much more vertical charts.)
posted by zompist at 2:31 PM on May 5

Response by poster: Sorry, I was unclear: I mean who are already dead (or will be dead by tomorrow), and so their entire lives were lived with no coronations.

(I think I edited out a really germane sentence.)
posted by General Malaise at 2:41 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Man I'm sure there was a much more elegant way to do this but...

Using Our World in Data data:

8,739,502,854 people were born in the world in the years of 1954-2021.
97,555,830 people were born in 1953. Since QEII was crowned in June, let's cut that number in half to get babies born after she took the throne that year: 48,777,915.

OWID only goes up to 2021, but a quick search on the UN website and a ballpark estimate suggests about 130,000,000 people were born in 2022, and we can guesstimate about half that again so far in 2023.

8,983,280,769 people were born after QEII was crowned.

There are about 7.9 billion people alive today. If all of them were born after 1953, then that'd be the list of "survivors", and to find people who were not survivors, who died between coronations, we could just subtract it from the birth totals. However, 761.27 million of those people were older than 65 in 2021. (That's not the same as 70, the actual cutoff age that we want, but it's as close as I think we're going to get.) So instead, 8.983... billion - 7.9 billion - 761.27 million =

1,844,550,769 people who lived their whole lives between coronations. Give or take. Extremely, extremely give or take.
posted by peppercorn at 3:03 PM on May 5 [9 favorites]

Best answer: This is an interesting question! I think there might not be a more elegant approach than peppercorn's; at least, there's no way to get it from births and deaths by year alone. If you compare a pair of people with 1950–2020 and 1955–2025 lifespans to a pair with 1950–2025 and 1955–2020 lifespans, both pairs would show up equally in births and deaths by year, but they don't count equally for what you want to calculate. So there's no way to do this without age distributions in some form.

However, 761.27 million of those people were older than 65 in 2021. (That's not the same as 70, the actual cutoff age that we want, but it's as close as I think we're going to get.)

The first spreadsheet here seems to use the same underlying UN data, but is more granular and gives 485 million at 70+ in 2021. More recent years are not provided, but an extrapolation from the last few years would give ~515 million people who are 70+ in 2023. That gives a revised estimate of 8.983 billion – (7.9 billion – 515 million) ≈ 1.6 billion.
posted by aws17576 at 11:00 PM on May 5

Best answer: The first spreadsheet here seems to use the same underlying UN data,

This is close to the correct spreadsheet; the actual one you want is in the 'Mortality' link. This gives an year-by-year estimate of deaths, by single year of age. That is, in year x how many people of age y died. It's mostly fairly straightforward to figure out from there; for instance, in 1963, we're interested in the deaths of people who were born after mid-1953; that is, the 0 year olds, the 1 year olds, and so on, up to the 9 year olds and 1/2 the 10 year olds.

With a couple of assumptions (I'm using half years rather than fractions to represent mid-year coronations; the data ends in 2021, so I'm using those death numbers for 2022 and the first half of 2023 as well), the total I arrive at is 1,478.4 million people worldwide.

For the major Commonwealth countries, the number of people is:
India: 342.6M
Nigeria: 90.4M
Pakistan: 51.1M
Tanzania: 15.9M
South Africa: 14.6M
Uganda: 12.9M
Mozambique: 11.9M
Kenya: 11.8M
Ghana: 8.5M
Cameroon: 7.6M
Malawi: 7.5M
Rwanda: 4.8M
Sierra Leone: 3.97M
United Kingdom: 2.74M
Sri Lanka: 2.46M
Togo: 2.42M
Malaysia: 2.33M
Papua New Guinea: 1.7M
Australia: 0.8M
Jamaica: 0.34M
Singapore: 0.22M
New Zealand: 0.2M

These countries sum up to 644 million; the smaller countries here probably have slight undercounts due to rounding.

A few other key countries for reference:
China: 210.07M
France: 2.99M
Germany: 4.18M
Brazil: 34.81M
United States of America: 19.9M

What's interesting demographically is for most of the era under consideration, it's been remarkably steady at 20 million or so people per year; yes, each year the people born in 1953 get one year older, but at the same time infant and child mortality decrease, and the two basically cancel each other out until about 5 years ago, when the 1953 cohort passes 65 and the death rate increases; COVID also has an impact.

When looking at deaths of people under 65 (which is mostly the case here) and particularly in a half-century long global context, this is really about infant mortality; 42.2% of the people who died did so in infancy (before their first birthday) and a further 18.3% did so before the age of 5. This is much less the case in higher income countries; in the UK for instance, only 23.8% of the deaths were in infancy and a further 3.6% before the age of 5. Half of those infant mortality deaths were pre 1970.
posted by Superilla at 12:51 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: As they say, good enough for government work (and my purposes of idle curiosity). Thank you!
posted by General Malaise at 8:49 AM on May 7

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