Lack of unusual longevity in Vilcabamba, Ecuador

R. B. Mazess, R. W. Mathisen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mortality records from the supposedly longevous population of Vilcabamba in southern Ecuador were evaluated for the period 1907 through 1979. Records from the nearby urban center of Loja were also recorded. These records were used to calculate life expectancy tables using a revision of the synthetic cohort method that involved reverse summation. Age at death was corrected for the prevalent age exaggeration using a regression previously established for this community. Life expectancy has increased somewhat in Vilcabamba over the past 70 years. Age exaggeration was evident in the mortality records throughout this period indicating that this behavioral pattern was not a result of recent publicity. Age exaggeration was responsible for all evidence of increased longevity in the life tables compared to U.S. values. Life expectancy in Vilcabamba was very similar to that in the town of Loja and 15 to 30% below those for the U.S. This evidence, together with the documented exaggeration in centenarians and the debunking of the demographic claims, provides the final link in showing no unusual longevity in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-524
Number of pages8
JournalHuman biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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