Living to see the year 2100

My friends and I were debating today whether any of us had the remotest change of living to see the turn of the next century. I’ve read about cases, although be they rare, of people who have lived to see three centuries. I believe, according to GB of WR, there are a few of them alive right now.

Of course, the conversation boiled down to this: whithin the next 50 years, will the average life expectancy have increased enough to make it even feasable.

Not exactly looking for debates on maximum human life potential here, but it can be thrown in if a must. What we are looking for is a little number crunching.

So, given the average normal life expectancy increase over the last few centuries, plus the average risk of succuming to disease and factoring in the increase in medical technology, what are the chances of someone born in 1970 seeing the year 2100.

Any help would be appreciated.

How else do you think this question can be answered?

I don’t believe the Guiness book ever recorded anyone living past 116.

I was wondering if I could have worded that better. What I meant was, I’ve heard lots of people debate that no matter what, no human could ever live past 150 years, regardless of medical technology. I didn’t want to put a total cap on the number of years, I more wanted to speculate according to the stats listed above.

116 sounds about right. I’ll have to see 122 to make it, so I need an increase of at least 6 years for me to see 2100.

It would also probably help if I stopped smoking. And drinking all of the time. And lwrapping myself in bacon and running through the hungry hyena cage. But hell, who would want to see 2100 if you couldn’t do that? :wink:

I believe the average life expectancy at birth of a female American born in 1999 was around 83 years of age, so I’d expect quite a few of them to see 2100 (or 2101 for you pedants). I don’t think we’ll see anyone born in 1970 alive (but I wouldn’t completely rule it out), but there would likely be a couple of people that make it who were born in the mid to late 70s or early 80s, with the numbers obviously increasing for those born in later years.

Close, the Guiness record is 120 years 237 days for Shigechiyo Izumi of Japan, who died in 1986. Barring major advances in medicine that cancels out cancer or the invention of a true “anti-aging” wonder drug, I doubt the ceiling for longevity will get too much above 120.

Were I to live to 113, I would see 2100. Not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

Start at Genesis 1:1 and go through the entire Bible plotting the age at death vs, years, BC or AD. Assume Genesis begins circa 4,000 BC.

Jesus was crucified at age 30/33, the low ebb in life expectancy.

By the year 4,000 AD life expectancy MAY have risen to the levels recorded in Genesis!

Otherwise one guess is as good as another.
As Alfred E. Newman said, “What? Me worry?”

No, the highest age at death given in The Guinness Book of Records is 122 years, 164 days. It was a French woman named Jeanne Calment, born in 1875 and died in 1997. The average lifespan in the U.S. has been rising at about 2 years every decade. Even if that increase slows down, it seems likely that the average age at death will be more than 85 in 2100 and possibly over 90. I predict that someone born in 1970 will be alive in 2100.

Okay, so let’s all meet back here in 2100 and see if you’re right. I’ll bet a million bucks you’re wrong. (Go ahead and try to collect from my estate!)

The life expectancy for someone born in each decade does indeed grow at a rather speedy clip, but do we know that people who live to be the oldest in the world increase at the same rate? I haven’t found records that go back far enough (and are also accurate, which is the hard part) to get a good enough sampling of that. I guess some of you will find out, but I won’t be around. :slight_smile:

It’s at least possible that while we increase the average length of our lives, and even prolong the “healthy” years, that there is a certain cutoff where the body just can’t handle it any more. Since records are so much better now, we’ll probably have a better idea in 2050 as to the odds of someone born in 1970 making it to 2100.

That’s a particularly interesting case, because when the news of her death went around the world it was said over and over in the media that Mme Calment had met Vincent van Gogh personally. Allegedly, her uncle owned a small shop when she was a girl where van Gogh dropped by to buy paints once.

I think in 2100 there will be thousands of people in the world who have seen the 20th century. All you need to do is having been born shortly before the last turn of the century and live a bit more than a hundred years. Considering that the percentage of people whose lifespan exceeds 100 years is not that low (and will certainly rise), there will be a lot of people to have seen three centuries. If we’ll be among them is another question.

I don’t know if the Bible counts as a reliable source on life expectancy statistics.

With advances in medicine we might just be growing replacement organs and fixing major conditions that today are terminal… We just don’t know what tomorrow brings.

Though I heard that for the first time the youngest generation at the moment has a lower life expectancy than the one before it thanks to our western style of eating and an overall lack of exercise.

clayton_e writes:

> Though I heard that for the first time the youngest generation at the moment
> has a lower life expectancy than the one before it thanks to our western style
> of eating and an overall lack of exercise.


That doesn’t match anything I’ve ever read.

I found three references to it.

One from the Houston Chronicle.

Another from a January 8th speech by Texas governor Rick Perry.

And a third repeating what was said in the first from a somewhat persuasive website called “” (take everything else on the website with a grain of… nevermind, not good for your heart :wink: )

Sorry to be skeptical about this, but this sounds like one person making a prediction which gets quoted by a couple of other people. I’m not convinced by this. Does anyone know of any published research into this issue?

There is a common misconception that as the expected lifespan of people goes up, it makes it so people die at older and older ages, which is rather deceptive. Rather, it means more people will live to be 80/90/100/etc…

Living to be 100 is nothing new- its just that improved conditions have made it so that a person has a better chance of living to 100.

Yes, but even that means that means that the average age at death will go up by a little bit. For instance, suppose that at some point in the past, only 8 people in a million would live to age 100, and suppose that now 64 people in a million will live to age 100. Further, suppose that there has been no improvement in the chances of a person at age 100 to live longer. (And this isn’t quite true. Most medical improvements over the past century or so have mostly increased the health of young people. But many have increased the health of middle-aged people, and some even have increased the health of old people.) Suppose then that either now or in the past, for someone over 100, the chances that they will live one year more are 50%. Then in the past the oldest that you can expect one person in a million to live to is 104, while now the oldest that you can expect one person in a million to live to is 107. Increasing the average lifespan doesn’t mean that you will increase the average expected maximum lifespan by as much, but it does mean that you will increase it by a little. Furthermore, just because there are more people in the world these days we can expect there to be a slightly greater expected maximum lifespan. If at some point in the past there were only a billion people in the world and at some point in the future there are 8 billion people in the world, then (again supposing that for any person over 100, the chance that they will live one year more is 50%), the average expected maximum lifespan is three years more at that point in the future than at that point in the past.

I guarantee you, barring some kind of Nuclear/Biological Holocaust, or planet destroying technological disaster there are more than “a few” such people alive right now. Depending of course on what the definition of “a few” is.

According to the Daily Standard there are 58,684 centurians in the United States today (I don’t know how many of them were born prior to 1900 and so lived in 3 centuries – can we say 10,000 sounds reasonable?).

I submit, barring those caveats above there at least 70,000 people in the U.S. today who have lived or will live to see centuries:

10,000 who saw the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries
58,684 (assuming there will be as many Centurians in 2100 as in 2000) who will see the 20th ,21st and 22nd centuries

We can obviously “expect” many more centurians in 2100 but I am being conservative and I think my WAG that only 10,000 of the 58K living U.S. centurians are +105ish is conservative – but maybe not!

Many folks who saw the tail-end of the 19xx’s will be around to greet the 21xx’s but I won’t be among them, I’m afraid.

You’re invited to my 110th birthday in 2069 but after that point I’m not making any plans.

A trip down to the local neighborhood Center for Disease Control (large pdf!) provides some pertinent statistics, if you want to extrapolate from historical data. To wit: average life expectation at birth increased from 47.3 years in 1900 to 77.2 years in 2001 (Table 12). Impressive, no? However, the average life expectation for a centennarian… er, centurnarian… er, centurion… whatever… was 1.58 years in 1900, and 2.7 years in 2001 (Table 11). Barely a year’s increase. However again, in 1900, you had only a 0.031% chance of living to see 100, while in 2001, you had over a 2% chance (Table 10).

So, in short, if we extrapolate this, in the coming century you’ll probably have a much better chance of living to a ripe old age, but once you get there, your expectation of continuing to survive won’t be much longer than it is now.