Americans Are Living Longer Than Ever

Life expectancy in the United States rose to 78.8 in 2012  — setting a record high.

That number is an increase of 0.1 year from 78.7 years in 2011, according to a new report on mortality in the USA from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics.

“Although changes in mortality are relatively small from one year to the next, long-term trends show the apparent progress in reducing mortality,” the CDC says in the report. 


The 10 leading causes of death in 2012 remain unchanged from 2011 — with heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, unintentional injuries, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease and suicide accounting for 73.8% of all deaths in the U.S.

However, much of the recent improvement in death rates and life expectancy for population groups examined can be attributed to reductions in death rates from major causes of death, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory diseases, the CDC says.

From 2011 to 2012, age-adjusted death rates in the United States significantly decreased for both males and females among non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black populations.


The rate decreased 1.2% for non-Hispanic white males, and 1.1% for non-Hispanic white females and for non-Hispanic black males. The largest decrease (2.3%) in mortality from 2011 to 2012 was among non-Hispanic black females. 

Women’s life expectancy continues to surpass that of men. In 2012, the difference in life expectancy between females and males was 4.8 years, the same as in 2011.

In 2012, life expectancy was 81.2 years for females and 76.4 for males.

“Although continuing declines in mortality have slowly reduced longstanding gaps in life expectancy, differences in life expectancy at birth and at 65 years between sexes persist,” the CDC says.

Life expectancy at 65 years for the total population was 19.3, 0.1 year higher than in 2011. Life expectancy at 65 years was 20.5 years for females and 17.9 years for males.

The difference in life expectancy at 65 years between females and males increased 0.1 year from 2.5 years in 2011 to 2.6 years in 2012.

Read the report here.

Written by Cassandra Dowell

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