Titanic survivors lived no longer than general population

December 18, 2003

In the closing song of the 1997 film Titanic, the heroine tells us that her heart "must go on and on" but a study in this week's Christmas issue of the BMJ shows that Titanic survivors lived no longer than the general population.

Using passenger biographies from the Encyclopedia-Titanica website, researchers compared the proportion of survivors alive at each anniversary of the sinking with two matched groups from the United States and Sweden.

Of the 500 passengers listed as survivors, 435 could be traced. The longevity of these passengers was not remarkably different from that of the two comparison groups. On average they lived 1.7 years longer than the general population of the United States and 0.5 years longer than that of Sweden.

Five women lived past 100, and the three survivors still alive are now in their 90s. Despite their higher socioeconomic status, male passengers in first class did not outlive similar age males in the general populations.

The Titanic survivors did not have shorter lifespans than the general population. Nor did they substantially outlive them, conclude the authors.
-end-


BMJ

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