Why So Many Americans Want to Live to Age 100

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Centenarian with birthday cake
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How long do you want to live? If you are like most Americans, you hope to be in this world for the long haul.

When asked if they want to live to age 100, an overwhelming 69% of Americans say “yes,” according to a poll of around 11,000 adults across five generations conducted for the Edward Jones and Age Wave 2022 report “Longevity and the New Journey of Retirement.”

Following are the reasons so many people hope to reach the rank of centenarian.

5. Fear of dying

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Respondents who cited this reason: 6%

What happens after we die? Those with a strong religious faith have solid convictions about what comes next. For others, death is the great unknown.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, it’s no surprise that for some people, the end of life generates a great deal of fear.

If you are among those who are afraid, every extra year of life is a reprieve from confronting the ultimate anxiety.

4. Desire to do more

Senior woman learning to paint
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Respondents who cited this reason: 18%

A hallmark of modern life is the feeling that you never have enough time to complete things. Even after retiring, many energetic people cannot find the hours to finish tasks and achieve treasured goals.

Living to 100 puts extra time on the clock to realize your dreams.

3. Curiosity about the future

A senior man holds a remote control and coffee while watching tv on his sofa
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Respondents who cited this reason: 19%

The famous expert in mythology and writer Joseph Campbell once said the following:

“Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.”

Many of us hope to live to 100 simply because we enjoy the great human story and want to see as much of it as possible.

2. Desire to continue enjoying life

Happy senior woman with her daughter
AlessandroBiascioli / Shutterstock.com

Respondents who cited this reason: 23%

A surprising — but heartening — 85% of Americans are satisfied with their personal lives, and more than half describe themselves as “very satisfied,” according to a recent Gallup poll.

Although those numbers are down a bit from where they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, they still indicate that the vast majority of Americans enjoy life on this planet. And if you feel that way, “100 or bust” makes perfect sense.

1. Desire to spend more time with loved ones

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Respondents who cited this reason: 35%

More than one-third of those who want to live to 100 simply cannot bear to see a permanent loosening of the ties that bind.

Many of us find that with each passing year, wealth, prestige and power lose their grip on our imagination and our heart. It is the relationships we have formed with family and friends that last.

Living to 100 gives us more time to enjoy life’s greatest gift: the company of one another.

Want to reach a century on this planet? Check out:

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