My mother lived to be 111 years old. What are the odds of living to that age?
— Phil J., Eagle Point
Your seemingly simple question requires a somewhat complicated answer, Phil.
It depends on your genetic makeup, how healthful a lifestyle you live and whether you are accident-prone. Judging from your mom, you came from a gene pool in which longevity is a long suit. We also suspect she took care of herself and was not a klutz, traits you may have inherited.
We checked with the Social Security Administration, which tells us a man living to 65 today can expect to live until age 84 on average. A woman turning 65 today can expect to live until age 86, according to the agency.
Moreover, it reports that one out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90, and one out of 10 will live beyond age 95. It doesn't project into the triple digits, but the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010 estimated that one in 6,000 from birth could expect to live to be 100.
In the United States, the average life expectancy from birth is 78, according to the bureau. In Japan, it's 83, and it's 80 in Canada.
Within the 50 states, Hawaiians can expect to live the longest, on average, to 82.7. Oregon came in 19th with an average longevity of 79.5 years. Coming in last are the folks from Mississippi, where the average life span is 75.
But there is no question we are living longer. When our nation was founded, life expectancy at birth was about 35 years. It jumped to 47 years in 1900, then to 68 years in 1950.
Meanwhile, we old codgers in SYA's Geriatric Ward consider 60 to be the new 40.