As you age, the risk of developing disease increases, sometimes dramatically. If you are a 50-year-old white woman, for example, you have a 9.9 percent chance of having had cancer and a 6.9 percent chance of having been diagnosed with diabetes. At 70 the risk for both diseases will roughly double.
You will also see changes in your community. If you live in Maryland, the proportion of people 65 and older is expected to rise to 17.5 percent in 2030 from 12.3 percent today. In the country as a whole, only 55 percent of the population will be non-Hispanic white, compared with 65 percent in 2010.
Using information collected by epidemiologists, demographers and statisticians, we created an interactive graphic that will allow you to visualize these shifts over the next 40 years. To see how someone of your age, race and sex may fare and how your surrounding world may evolve, click on columbia.news21.com/our-future-selves.
For instance, if you are a single, 30-year-old black man living in Virginia, what will your senior years look like? Assuming current trends continue, at age 70 your chances of having diabetes will have increased to 27.4 percent from 2.6 percent, and your chances of having heart disease will have increased to 11 percent from 0.7 percent. You will probably still be working, and you will be spending more than half of your income on housing. You may, however, have a wide choice of female companions: Seventy-eight percent of the men in your birth year will have made it to age 70, compared with 85 percent of the women your age.
Keller and Liedel are News 21 fellows at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.