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Americans expect to live a year longer than statistics suggest

9/27/99, COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Americans on average estimate they will live about one year longer than statistics of life expectancy suggest they will, a new study finds. Men and blacks are most optimistic about their lifespans -- men believe they will live about 3 years longer than official predictions and blacks expect to live about 6 years longer.

The group that statistics say should live the longest -- white females -- actually predicted they will live slightly less than official estimates.

"Americans seem to understand roughly how much time they probably have left," said John Mirowsky, author of the study and professor of sociology at Ohio State University. "Men are slightly more optimistic, and black respondents quite a bit more optimistic."

The study appears in the October 1999 issue of the journal Social Science & Medicine. Mirowsky used data from the 1995 survey of Aging, Status and the Sense of Control, a national telephone poll of 2,592 adults that asked, among other questions, "to what age do you expect to live?" He compared respondents' answers to life expectancy figures published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census in 1995.

The survey results showed that black and white women, and black males, expect to live to about 82 years on average and white ma
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Contact: John Mirowsky
Mirowsky.1@osu.edu
614-292-2419
Ohio State University
12-Oct-1999


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