CARP Radical Life Extension Poll Report

Graph for IMN

Pew Research interviewed over 2000 US adults in Spring, 2013 about extended life spans. CARP surveyed more than 2000 members in August 2013 on some of the same questions. This report compares findings from the two polls, as well as presenting other data gathered by CARP.

It has to be pointed out that Pew poll was taken among a general population sample, weighted to reflect current US census data, and therefore containing all ages. The CARP sample is made up of members, whose average age is about 70. This will lead to significant differences in attitudes to health care and longevity between the two samples.

In addition, acute health care is, of course, free in Canada, and costly in the US. This fact will also lead to different attitudes on both longevity and health care.

Key Findings

  • CARP members are aware that there are radical life extension possibilities but are unlikely to embrace it for themselves. They are much less supportive than their American counterparts – even allowing for age differences in the sample – and cite resource pressures, think it is fundamentally unnatural and would not lead to a more productive economy.
  • When asked in detail, most CARP members think radical life extension is a bad thing, because it will lead to resource depletion and seniors will run out of savings.
  • CARP members are half as interested in taking part in these life extension techniques as Americans, and much less convinced than Americans that others would like to take part.
  • If they did take part in these treatments, CARP members are most concerned that their extra years would be healthy, not necessarily well-provided for.
  • CARP members expect to live as long as Americans wish to live, but they wish to live even longer, which may be reflection of greater confidence in our health care system.
  • In a similar vein, CARP members are more confident humans will routinely live to be 120 years old by the year 2050 than Americans are.
  • In a curious and counter-intuitive finding, CARP members are less likely than Americans to say these treatments would be available to everyone, and are more likely to say they will be reserved for the wealthy when they are available.
  • CARP members are more likely than Americans to agree these techniques would strain natural resources, are equally likely to find them fundamentally unnatural and are much less likely to think they will lead to a more productive economy.
  • Most CARP members say they would not change what they are doing if they had an additional 20 years, while others say they will travel or volunteer.

Conclusion

CARP members are more aware of, and more sceptical of the benefits of radical life extension than are Americans. They are more likely than Americans to see the obstacles and pitfalls to radial life extension, and less likely to think it will be embraced by many. It may be that Canadians, with expectations of adequate health care for all rather than glamourous health care for the wealthy, do not see these treatments being paid for by the government.

Click here to download a full copy of the Financial Security Poll Report, complete with tables

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September 6, 2013