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Americans May Live Longer Than Government Thinks

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Thanks to biomedical advances, the average American lifespan in 2050 will be longer than the U.S. government now predicts, says a team of researchers.

The average American will live three to eight years longer than the U.S. Social Security Administration and Census Bureau anticipate, said members of the MacArthur Research Network on an Aging Society in a report released Monday, according to ABC News.

Those few years could have a huge implication on U.S. society, they said. "The economic implications for the U.S. economy are huge. We estimated we would be spending $3.2 to $8.3 trillion more in today's dollars than currently projected," said S. Jay Olshansky, professor in the school of public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago and co-author of the report released in The Milbank Quarterly.

According to the group's estimates, women would reach 89 to 94 on average instead of the government's estimate of 83 to 85 years, ABC said. Men would live to 83 to 86 instead of the 80 years average predicted by the government.

Traditionally, the government's lifespan projections were relatively accurate. But Olshansky's group contends that the government failed to take into account advances in medicine, including gene therapy, that could lengthen lifespans.

"The government is anticipating that the rate of improvement in life expectancy will decelerate," said Olshansky. "We suggest the opposite." And to minimize the burdens that an aging society will place on the young, he said "the time to plan for this is now."

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