Uncovering a Broader Desire For Extended Lifespan

To get the right answers you must ask the right questions. Understanding public opinions on longevity is crucial to obtaining a critical mass of funding and support for research on aging therapies.

Past survey work suggested that most people do not wish to live beyond 80-85 years. However, when survey takers were asked questions about their longevity that inserted qualifying conditions, the results showed that most people desire an unlimited number of living years.

The results below are based on a poster presented by Joe Betts-LaCroix and Munjal Shah at the Bay Area Aging Symposium at UCSF, November 26th, 2012.
Snapshot 2012-12-17 00-50-14

duncan graph

A new survey was conducted using the following methods: 1000 people were randomly selected by a professional research agency to answer a questionnaire. Properties measured: desired lifespan(conditional), expected lifespan, health, interest in science, importance of religion, life satisfaction, self esteem, optimism, age, race, ethnicity, gender, income.
The primary questions were:
(1) If you could be physically & mentally the same as your 20s, how long would you like to live?
• 85 • 120 • 150 • unlimited

(2) If you could be physically the same but NOT mentally the same as your 20s, how long would you like to live?
• 85 • 120 • 150 • unlimited

(3) If you could be mentally the same but NOT physically the same as your 20s, how long would you like to live?
• 85 • 120 • 150 • unlimited

The most significant finding was that when asked how long they desired to live if they could be physically and mentally the same as in their twenties, MOST people answered that they desired an UNLIMITED lifespan, and over 80% wanted to live at least 120 years. Desired lifespan also varied based on several conditions of the individual’s life.
The graphs below illustrate more in depth look at the survey findings.







1 reply
  1. Steven Fowkes
    Steven Fowkes says:

    Joe— Great insight re perception of lifespans. Suggest you rephrase questions “If you could rejuvenate yourself 20 years and maintain that level of physical and mental wellness, how long would you like to live?” The question would have to be altered by the age of the individual, to 5 years of rejuvenation in 25-35 year olds, 10 years of rejuvenation in 35-40 year olds, and 30 years of rejuvenation in 60-80 year olds, but you get the idea. Then you could change “rejuvenation” to “employ anti-aging therapy” or “turn back the clock” to see if there were differences is responses reflecting variations in perceptions of languaging. —Steve 650-321-2374


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