Monday, December 21, 2020

Which demographic has the best chance of surviving "Spicy Times"?


First of all, our most-likely-survivor (MLS) will be a girl or woman.

Source of images

With very, very few exceptions, women have lower mortality during extreme events than men. During Holodomor, the Ukrainian famine of 1933, men had 60% higher mortality rates across a very broad age spectrum.

I speculate that is because women have lower base, metabolic "Emaintenance" demands because they typically have smaller stature and reduced muscle mass.

But how old?

Our MLS will not be an infant. Infant mortality is horrendous in chaotic environments. Infants do not have the portfolio of antibodies needed to negotiate filthy environments. Their tiny bodies dehydrate in the blink of an eye and are subject to hypothermia.

The bottom three curves show a distinct preference for 15-to-20 year-old women having the highest survival rates.

The illustration above shows the demographic "counts" by age after the catastrophic events. The initial inclination is to estimate the survival rate by looking at the slope of the declining curve with flatter indicating a higher survival rate, that is too simplistic because it does not comprehend the base population.

If you take that into account, you should never bet against a 15 year-old woman, especially if she can cook, garden, fish and demonstrates a pleasant personality. This is not my opinion. It is data.


  1. Doesn't bode well for us... sigh

  2. Graphs don't make sense at low ages though - it appears survival rates are very high at very young ages which is counterintuitive. Maybe some kind of weird data artifact? Or am I mis-interpreting?

    1. It is my poorly written legend that threw you.

      The y-axis intercept is 1.0 representing all infants of that gender. The line represents the fraction (represented as a decimal) of those who survived.

      So a horizontal segment suggests that everybody survived time segment.

      The high infant mortality rate you intuitively know is there is represented by the fact that the line is very, very steep at the youngest ages.

  3. If I recall correctly, there were more women survivors of the Donner party.

  4. (Crossing fingers that this is part of the next story)