Sunday, January 4, 2015
Answer to: How Long Will You Live?
I consulted several how-long-will-you-live websites to compile this quiz, along with various government statistics. So everyone starts with the number 84, which according to Social Security actuarial tables represents the overall average life expectancy of Americans in their mid-60s. Then, to figure out your own individual life expectancy, add and subtract according to the following schedule.
1. If you're in your 50s, subtract 2 years. In your 60s, no change. In your 70s, add 3 years; in your 80s, add 7 years. (If you're younger than 50, you shouldn't be reading this blog; and if you're in your 90s, you're way beyond a quiz like this!)
2. If you're a white male, subtract one year. White female, add two years. Non-white male, subtract 4 years. Non-white female, subtract one year. (Figures are from the CDC).
3. Never married: subtract one year. Currently married: add one year. Divorced or widowed, no change
4. If you answered A) add one year. If you answered D) subtract one year. If you answered B), then it's hard to generalize, but cancer survival rates are improving all the time. On average, subtract 3 years.
5. If you answered A) add one year. If you answered D) subtract one year. If you answered B) then again, it's hard to generalize, but treatments are continually getting more effective. So on average, subtract 2 years.
6. Add one year if you tend to drive in the right-hand lane, and another year if you answered always wear your seat belt. Subtract one year if you drive in the left-hand lane (in other words, if you are prone to speeding) and subtract another year for answering C), or over 15,000 miles a year.
7. Add 2 years if you never smoked; add one if you gave up more than 10 years ago. Subtract one year if you smoke occasionally (one pack of cigarettes a month, or one cigar a week = "occasionally"); subtract 2 years if you smoke half a pack or more a day.
8. Add one year if you checked no items. Subtract one year if you checked 2 or 3 items; subtract 2 years if you checked all 4 items.
9. Add one year if you checked both B) and C); subtract one year if you checked both A) and D). Otherwise, no change.
10. Add two years if you checked A) for regular exercise. Subtract one year if you answered D) for never.
11. Subtract one year if you checked A) and have no college experience. Add one year if you checked C) or D) -- there's a benefit to graduating from college but no appreciable actuarial benefit to more education.
12. Subtract one year if you answered A). (You're too gullible.) Subtract one year if you answered D). (You're too cynical). Add one year if you answered C) -- because no matter what our age we can always improve our prospects for a long and healthy life.
The final number you end up with is an estimate of how long you can expect to live. But as you might imagine, this is a fairly short-handed quiz, and it's more a suggestion than a prediction. If you want something more comprehensive and therefore more accurate, I'd recommend the long-form calculator from the University of Pennsylvania.
P. S. According to this quiz, I'll live until age 89, and B will live to 96. Which seems about right to me. Good luck ... and good health in the New Year!