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Surprising Science

Why You Might Live Longer Than You Expect

Life expectancy has hit a new high in the United States: 76.4 for men, 81.4 for women. But it's important to remember that certain demographics have widely varying expectancies due to several major variables. 

Congratulations, American. Your life expectancy is higher than ever: 76.4 for men, 81.4 for women. Your chances of reaching the vaunted age of 90 have never been better. Barring accidents or disease, there’s a lot of future still ahead of you.

But it’s important to note that those figures above vary greatly among certain demographics. For example, someone who’s already made it to 65 is much more likely to reach his or her mid-80s. This means those who have just now reached retirement shouldn’t worry too much that death’s around the corner. It especially helps if you’re wealthy, as upper-middle-class couples at 65 or older have a 43% chance of one or both partners reaching 95. Simply put, the rich live longer. Here’s a bit for information from the previously-linked piece in TIME:

“A recent Brookings study found that at age 55, men born in 1940 with incomes in the top 10% can expect to live another 34.9 years, to 89.9. That’s six years longer than their counterparts born in 1920. By contrast, men in the poorest 10% are likely to live only 1.6 years longer than the previous generation, till age 79.”

Of course, the elephant in the room is obesity and disease. Life expectancies may be higher than ever but American citizens also face greater health risks like diabetes and the untamed rise of Alzheimer’s. Some doctors suspect we’re approaching a life expectancy plateau and only better health habits and keen medical research can prevent us from approaching decline.

Take a look at the TIME article linked again below. There’s plenty of fascinating information about demographics, as well as tips for how to manage your health and retirement upon reaching old age.

Read more at TIME

Photo credit: Photobac / Shutterstock


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