Imagine a world where we never died or grew old. Instead, we could choose to stop aging after 25 and live as long as we want. If this were a possibility and we could crest 100 years, 200 years or even 10,000 years — all with the physique and energy of our 25-year-old self — how long would we choose to live?
We surveyed over 2,000 Americans to find out. Here’s what we learned.
A World Full of Centenarians
When it comes to longer life spans, it turns out most people aren’t too greedy. If we stopped aging after 25, shockingly, 57% of people said they’d want to live another 100 years or less. Almost 25% of participants would like to live another 76 to 100 years, 20% would live another 51 to 75 years and 15% would take on an additional 101 to 200 additional years.
Break down the numbers by age, and we see the group most likely to ask for 51 to 100 more years is those aged 60 and older, while those under 30 years old are more likely to think 26 to 50 years is plenty of time to do the things they want to do.
Perhaps this is because the older we get, the more we realize that time is precious, and in a go-go-go world, it’s far too easy to let life pass you. Maybe it’s because time genuinely seems to go by faster as we age — a phenomenon that seems to span cultures and societies, according to NPR.
Gender and a Longer Life
Here’s an interesting fact: Men crave a longer life span more than women.
When we split the data by gender, we found that 28% of women are content with another 51 to 75 years (compared with just 14% of men), and 25% of women would like 76 to 100 more years (compared with 23% of men).
As the number of years rises, men take over the leaderboard, with 16% craving another 101 to 200 years (compared with 14% of women), 10% longing for 201 to 500 (compared with 7% of women) and a whopping 13% asking for 501 to 1,000 more years (compared with just 7% of women).
Why do men want so much more time than women? It’s difficult to say for sure, but since women report being more stressed than men, they may be concerned about prolonging a stressful life. Perhaps men are more aware and concerned about mortality because their life spans are generally shorter. Or maybe women see requesting more time as greedy or selfish, two things American culture dissuades.
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Would We Live Longer If…
Most of us would like to extend our life for at least a few extra years — but under what conditions? Would we still want to live longer if we had to work the entire time, if our bodies deteriorated or if our children died before us?
We asked survey respondents just that, and the results may surprise you.
We found that 79% said they would want to extend their life span if they had to work the entire time. When it comes to outliving others, 73% would want to outlive everyone except their family and 63% would extend their life span if it were only with their spouse.
On the other end of the spectrum, only 12% would extend their life if they were paralyzed, 27% would still want to live longer with a chronic illness, and 36% would live in poverty.
Why Do We Want to Live Longer?
If people want to add another 50, 75 or 100 years to their life — why? According to our survey, the top answer is that respondents want to experience more of life (not unlike those who shared their regrets in this research). Also common was the desire to see more of the world and pursue more hobbies (goals that make a lot of sense considering research says experiences make us happy) and to see new breakthroughs in science and technology.
Very few people want to live longer to make more money, finish up their bucket list or to avoid death out of fear.
Related Article: 7 Inspirational Quotes About Getting Older
How Would Longevity Change Us?
If we knew we would live a long life, how would it change us?
For many participants, the answers were broad — between 43% and 45% said they would change their drug habits, relationship commitments, smoking and drinking habits and childbearing choices, with men more likely than women to make changes across all the categories.
Seeing into the Future
We surveyed 2,000 people in the United States to find out how long they’d like to live and under what conditions.
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