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Immortality No Longer Desired: Survey Finds People Do Not Want to Live to 120

Update Date: Aug 06, 2013 02:34 PM EDT
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The concept of immortality has always intrigued people. Researchers have continued to look for ways to prevent diseases and extend lives. By living longer, one can have the opportunity to meet new family members, such as great-great grandchildren. However, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center, the majority of people do not want to live past 100.

For this survey, the researchers contacted 2,012 adults who were 18-years-old and older. This group of adults was considered to be nationally representative. 69 percent of the adults surveyed stated that they would want to live up to any year between 79 and 100. The median age that these participants thought was ideal was 90. The current life expectancies for men and women as of right now are 76.2 and 81 respectively.

Although people's ideal dying age is above the average, when asked if they would want to live to 120, more than half of them stated no. The survey specifically asked participants if they would want to like to at least 120 if there were medical treatments that would slow down aging and lengthen lifespan. 56 percent of the people reported that they wouldn't want these treatments while only 38 percent would.

"There's really so little information about this kind of topic," a Pew researcher and lead author of the study, Cary Funk said according to USA Today. "We're talking about something that would slow or repair the aging process and let people live decades longer, beyond the limits of what's thought of as human life expectancy."

The researchers discovered that the majority of participants were unaware of the breakthroughs that happen everyday and help extend life. The survey found that only seven percent of the people stated that they knew about these medical advances, 38 percent state that they had heard or read a little bit about them, and 54 percent said they did not know anything about this subject before reading about it in the survey.

"We have all these choices that previous generations haven't had - like whether or not to pursue treatment, whether or not to pursue life-extending measures," Sociologist Karla Erickson from Grinnell College said. Erickson was not a part of the study. "They've witnessed others and they have a lot of ambivalence about whether it's worth it. The people I talked to were really comfortable saying 'I wish my friend had not done it.' Now they believe one should be judicious about what medical procedures to embrace, but they worry when they get to the end, [if] they will go down fighting and pursue every possible life extension."

Despite the fact that people would not want treatments that would potentially extend life and slow down aging, 63 percent of the people surveyed stated that medical advances that help extend life are good. 32 percent of the people survey believes that these medical advances are bad even if they extend life because they would "interfere with the natural cycle of life." 54 percent of the participants stated that these types of treatments would be worth the costs while 41 percent of the people though these costs would only lead to other problems.

Other findings from this study revealed that Americans were generally optimistic about life. 81 percent are satisfied with their lives. 56 percent of them believed that in 10 years, their lives will be better. 57 percent of the participants said that they were not too worried about outliving their retirement funds. 

The report can be found here.

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