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Longevity and Health of U.S. Presidential Candidates: New White Paper by AFAR Board Member S. Jay Olshansky, PhD

Jul 26

Longevity and Health of U.S. Presidential Candidates: New White Paper by AFAR Board Member S. Jay Olshansky, PhD View MoreBACK



AFAR is pleased to release the white paper, Longevity and Health of U.S. Presidential Candidates for the 2020 Election.

AFAR board member S. Jay Olshansky, Ph.D., is lead author of the white paper, which summarizes the first-ever scientific study estimating the longevity and survival probabilities of U.S. presidential candidates in the 2020 election.

Olshansky, a leading researcher on aging at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, and his colleagues used data from national vital statistics to estimate lifespan, healthspan, disabled lifespan, and four- and eight-year survival probabilities for U.S. citizens with attributes matching those of all 27 current candidates for the next two election cycles.

The fact that four of the leading contenders in both parties are in their 70s has led to considerable discussion and media attention regarding what—if any—age is “too old to be president.”

The AFAR white paper concludes “there is reason to question whether age should be used at all in making judgments about prospective presidential candidates.”

Instead, AFAR acknowledges, the number of candidates in their 70s reflects that Americans are living longer and healthier, in part as a result of the revolution in healthy aging that has occurred over the past century.

Notes AFAR Executive Director, Stephanie Lederman, Ed.M: “Biomedical research continues to open new paths for all of us to extend not only how long we live, but how many of those years we live independently, in good health, and contributing in significant ways to society. AFAR-supported science is working to extend the healthspan—or years of health as we grow older—not just for Presidential candidates, but for every American.”

The white paper has already captured international media attention, including The Philadelphia InquirerThe Washington Examiner, The Tribune of India, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Chicago Tribune, and Politico.

Read an interview with Dr. Olshansky on the study on here.


Download a PDF of the full white paper here. 


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