By 2050, one in five Americans will be 65 or older, and at least 400,000 will be 100 or older.
A new survey from the Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project looked at how we view the prospect of getting older, and how we view medical advances that may extend life spans to 120.
Asked how long they would like to live, more than two-thirds (69%) cite an age between 79 and 100. The median ideal life span is 90 years – about 11 years longer than the current average U.S. life expectancy, which is 78.7 years.
The public also is optimistic that some scientific breakthroughs will occur in the next few decades. For example, about seven-in-ten Americans think that by the year 2050, there will be a cure for most forms of cancer (69%) and that artificial arms and legs will perform better than natural ones (71%). And, on balance, the public tends to view medical advances that prolong life as generally good (63%) rather than as interfering with the natural cycle of life (32%).