According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), the life expectancy of the average American is continuing to grow. Today, most American’s can expect to live an average of 77.9 years. While the figure is slightly higher for women and some ethnic groups have slightly lower life expectancy rates, on average American’s are living almost 80 years. These figures are enormously different from those of just 20 years ago, leaving many to wonder not only what has changed but also what impact this increase will have.
Better health care is at the heart of the increased rates. More American’s have access to health care and we have, overall, a far better understanding of health issues today than we did even two decades ago. Vaccinations, health standards, better nutrition and more all play a role in keeping American’s healthier for longer. More importantly, these ‘golden’ years are more active for most citizens.
While it is, of course, a good thing that we are living longer, it is important to consider the impact that a growing number of elderly citizens will have on society. Health care expenses for the elderly will increase. With some estimating the number of citizens over the age of 65 to reach 71 million by 2030, infrastructure will need to be put into place to house and care for them. Assisted living facilities, access to affordable health care and other areas will need addressing before the ‘boom’ of elderly citizen’s hits us.
Still, it’s nice to think that today we can expect to live healthy, happy and active lives for far longer than ever before. Even better, as technology and research continue to delve into health issues such as disease, aging and nutrition this number is likely to continue to rise.