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Most Americans Don't Want to Live Forever Most Americans Don't Want to Live Forever Most Americans Don't Want to Live Forever Most Americans Don't Want...

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Most Americans Don't Want to Live Forever

Living to 100 is just fine, thank you.

Evelyn Maresca plays bingo at the Ironbound Senior Center in Newark, N.J.(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

photo of Matt  Berman
August 6, 2013

Americans may have a collective thing for vampires, but they aren't quite ready to join them in immortality.

A new poll out from Pew Research Center shows that most Americans would not want medical treatments that would slow the aging process and allow them to live for at least 120 years. Of the respondents, 56 percent said they wouldn't want such treatment, and 38 percent said they would. At the same time, 68 percent of Americans think that "most people" would actually want to live that long. A solid 69 percent of Americans see an ideal life span as being between 79-100 years. Just 4 percent of Americans see an ideal of over 120 years.

So if two-thirds of Americans think that most Americans would want to live longer, why do so few Americans actually feel that way? It's not because they're depressed. According to the study, 81 percent of Americans say they're satisfied with their lives, and 56 percent think their lives will only be better in 10 years.

 

But there are some concerns about what the future would look like if people could live much past 100:

 

 

The fact that a majority of Americans believe "only the wealthy would have access" to medical treatments that would radically expand life expectancy speaks volumes about how people in the United States view economic equality. This in part backs up findings from Pew on income inequality a year ago that showed two-thirds of Americans believe there are "strong conflicts" between rich and poor in the U.S.

Overall, a majority of Americans imagine something of a science-fiction dystopia if they were able to radically extend their life spans. Class struggle, rampant medical side-effects, an Earth struggling to keep up with the growing population. Yeah, maybe living to just 100 wouldn't be so bad.

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