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Want to live forever? Nah!

Created date

June 26th, 2014
couple on beach
couple on beach

Our survival instinct is strong, so you’d think with all of the advances in medicine that our goal would be to live as long as possible.

But surveys show that is not in fact what people in the U.S. really want.  The Pew Research Center conducted a survey that asked several questions about medical advances and the ability to live to age 120. The majority of respondents said that they’d like to live to at least age 79 but no longer than age 100. 

That minimum age is slightly longer than today’s average life expectancy, which according to the National Vital Statistics System is 78.7 years. Women live a bit longer—to about age 81, and men live about 76.2 years. That’s an increase from 2006, when women could expect to live 80.2 years and men 75.1 years. (An interesting fact: In the very early 1900s, it was 50.7 years for women and 47.9 years for men.)

Medical advances account, in part, for the steady rise in U.S. life expectancy, but Pew survey respondents had mixed views about medical measures or procedures that can prolong life. Most (54%) said that generally speaking, advances that prolong life are good and worth the costs, but 41% said that such advances create as many problems as they purportedly solve.

Ultimately, of course, treatment to lengthen life is a very personal decision that hinges largely on quality of life.