live to be 1000 years
Brittany Hambleton
Brittany Hambleton
January 7, 2024 ·  5 min read

If You’re Still Alive In 30 Years, You Might Live To Be 1,000 Years Old

The average life expectancy in the United States is currently just over 78 years old [1]. Thanks to many modern inventions, humans today are living much longer than they did one and two hundred years ago. Some experts believe, however, that in the future some people could live to be 1000 years old.

Sound crazy? Perhaps. But if life expectancy continues to grow at the same rate, the first person to live to be 1000 years old is probably alive today.

Why Are We Living Longer

To understand how some experts have come to this conclusion, we first must understand what affects life expectancy. Life expectancy is a key metric for assessing the health of a population.

Estimates suggest that in the pre-modern world, the average life expectancy around the world was just thirty years old. In the early nineteenth century, however, life expectancy began to grow in early industrialized countries. Today, life expectancy has more than doubled what it once was [2].

But what has caused this drastic increase in longevity? Of course, our first instinct would be to point to advancements in medicine and public health. This is not completely wrong. Many aspects of medical care have improved significantly, and the conditions in which we live (for those of us in developed countries) are far more sanitary than what our ancestors would have lived in two hundred years ago.

A More Resilient Youth

The biggest contributor to the growing life expectancy, however, is actually that infant mortality is lower.  

It is important to remember that the average life expectancy takes into account the people who live the longest, as well as those whose lives are the shortest. Let’s say, for example, you have two children. One lives to be seventy years old, the other dies before their first birthday. That would make their average life expectancy 35.

Even just one hundred years ago, many more children died before they reached their fifth birthday. Modern medicine and advancements in healthcare have greatly improved the likelihood of a child surviving into adulthood.

“There is a basic distinction between life expectancy and life span,” says Stanford University historian Walter Scheidel, a leading scholar of ancient Roman demography. “The life span of humans – opposed to life expectancy, which is a statistical construct – hasn’t really changed much at all, as far as I can tell.”  [3]

It is a common misbelief that ancient people never lived long lives. In fact, many of them did reach their seventies and even eighties- they just had to make it out of childhood first.

Read: 5 Signs That Reveal You Live Longer Than Other People Your Age

How Could Someone Live to be 1000 Years Old?

Over the last century and a half, we’ve seen vast improvements in nutrition, clean water, better sanitation and the application of medical science to successfully cure diseases. This has allowed many more people to reach their potential life span.

Humans have been consumed with the desire to extend life (and youth) as much as possible for a long time. In today’s modern world, it seems as though we actually have the tools to do this. The most prominent killers in generations past were infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, scarlet fever, smallpox, influenza, typhoid, and cholera. If doctors and scientists are able to continue reducing mortality, some believe that people born after the year 2000 may have the potential to live to be 1000 years old.

Scientists have already successfully used techniques like genetic manipulation, calorie restriction, and drug therapy to extend the lifespan of yeasts, worms, fruit flies, and small mammals. Experts are learning more every day about the aging process, how to slow it down, stop it, or even reverse it [4].

Read: These 4 personality traits are the secret to a long life according to science

Is Technology the Answer?

Many researchers are already working on projects that use technology to replace and enhance human functions. It is not improbable that in the near future we will see the use of smart health monitors, and brain stimulators become wide-spread.

Doctors are already learning how to grow replacement organs in labs and in donor animals. They’re using artificial intelligence to diagnose and treat disease. We may even see the development of nanomedibots in the bloodstream that seek out and destroy pathogens and cancers [4].

Stem cells are another area of advancing research that may be the key to live to be 1000 years old. Stem cells contain all the genetic information they need to become any other type of cell. Scientists are now learning how they can use these cells to replace lost or damaged cells, or even build new organs. 

Stem cells have the power to potentially replace or renew damaged tissue in the brain and spinal cord, and in the heart. They could replace teeth, restore vision and transplant new pancreatic cells to produce insulin [4].

Using DNA to Extend Life

Your DNA is the genetic material that makes you who you are. It is completely unique to you. Scientists now have a technology called CRISPR that theoretically allows them to snip any strand of DNA in a precise location and then add or remove DNA to or from it.

“In humans this is the equivalent of taking 850 volumes of the complete works of Shakespeare and purposefully editing one specific letter,” says Doctor David Goldhill [4].

Doctors are already using gene therapy like this to treat various diseases like sickle cell disease. Could this lead to using DNA alterations to “cure” aging and prolong life? It’s possible.

Time Will Tell

We’re at a point in human history where we don’t expect death to happen to people at a young age. Our ancestors did not have the same confidence. 

Humans have been searching for that magic pool of life, that elixir of youth, for years. Modern medicine and hygiene have, by many accounts, provided that. It is impossible for us to know right now what kinds of advancements science and medicine will make in the future. We do know, however, that provided nothing tragic happens, our children and grandchildren will likely live into old age. 

As to what “old age” will look like for them? Who knows- maybe they’ll be the first ones to live to be 1000 years old.

Keep Reading: Study: Eating Chocolate and Drinking Red Wine Could Help Prevent Aging