It’s a question I’ve asked myself more times than I’d like to admit, especially on New Year’s Day: how many years do I have left?
Life expectancy in the U.S. is 78.6 years. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Americans who reached age 65 were living longer than ever. However, older adults in cities and on the coasts are living longer than people in rural areas. And that gap has been widening for the last two decades.
In this simple interactive graphic, Nathan Yau of Flowing Data predicts how long a person of any age is going to live. They used Social Security Administration data to simulate your possible lifetimes. (Head over to his site and enter your age and see for yourself.)
After letting the projections run for a while, a 58-year-old male has a 25% chance of living 30-39 more years, and a 40% chance of living 20-29 more years. There’s a 33% chance he’d live 0-19 more years, and a 2% chance of making it to age 98. I like those odds (but would still take the under).
Life begins at 70
When you push the slider past 70, something interesting happens. “Life expectancy increases and the balls tend to drop farther past the overall life expectancy point,” said Yau. “That is, as you shift into later years, life is like, ‘Hey, you’re pretty good at this aging game. Better than most. You’re probably going to live longer than the average person.'”
Obviously it’s important to note that these projections don’t take into account any one person’s current health conditions or history, mobility, socio-economic status or geographic location. It’s showing the wide range of outcomes. For me, it was a calming exercise. Until I started to wonder how 98-year-old me would be able to stay occupied. (There’s always something to worry about, I guess.)