Fuzzy math: O’Reilly says higher Canadian life expectancy is “to be expected” because “we have 10 times as many people”

Oh, he didn’t really say this, did he?

A viewer asked: “Has anyone noticed that life expectancy in Canada under our health system is higher than the USA?”

Bill responded:  “Well, that’s to be expected Peter, because we have 10 times as many people as you do. That translates to 10 times as many accidents, crimes, down the line.”

This argument is nonsensical.

Life expectancy is the AVERAGE survival time across a large group of similar people (in this case Canadians or Americans).  It does not matter if the U.S. has 10 times as many people.  What matters is that you are calculating the arithmetic mean.

In fact, if you take what Mr. O’Reilly is saying as true – this would drop accidents and crimes out of the equation.  He is essentially saying the U.S. has 10 times as many people so we have 10 times the number of accidents and crimes.  In other words, he is saying they are similar.

To get to the truth of why Canadians have a longer life expectancy than Americans, you’d have to look to other variables.  One important one would be the level of obesity in the two countries.  America is much worse with respect to this particular disease.

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