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For Immediate Release: September 12, 2007
Contact: National Center for Health Statistics
Office of Communication, (301) 458-4800
U.S. Life Expectancy Hits New High of Nearly 78 Years
A child born in the United States in 2005 can expect to live nearly 78 years (77.9) – a new high – according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2005."
The report from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics is based on approximately 99 percent of death records reported in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for 2005 and documents the latest trends in the leading causes of death and infant mortality.
The increase in life expectancy represents a continuation of a long-running trend. Over the past decade, life expectancy has increased from 75.8 years in 1995, and from 69.6 years in 1955.
"This report highlights the continued reduction in deaths from the three leading killers in the United States, heart disease, cancer and stroke, which is most likely due to better prevention efforts and medical advances in the treatments of these diseases," said Hsiang-Ching Kung, a survey statistician with CDC's National Center for Health Statistics and one of the report's authors. "If death rates from certain leading causes of death continue to decline, we should continue to see improvements in life expectancy."
Highlights of the report include:
- Life expectancy for whites was 78.3 in 2005, unchanged from the record high of 2004. Life expectancy for blacks increased slightly from 73.1 years in 2004 to 73.2 years in 2005.
- The age-adjusted U. S. death rate fell to below 800 deaths per 100,000 population in 2005 – an all-time low.
- The death rate from the three leading killers in the United States – heart disease, cancer and stroke – declined in 2005 compared to the previous year. The age-adjusted death rate from heart disease fell from 217 deaths per 100,000 in 2004 to 210.3 in 2005, while the age-adjusted death rate from cancer dropped from 185.8 per 100,000 in 2004 to 183.8 in 2005. The age-adjusted death rate from stroke declined from 50 per 100,000 in 2004 to 46.6 in 2005.
- The age-adjusted death rates for the seventh leading cause of death, Alzheimer's disease, and the 14th leading cause of death, Parkinson's disease, both increased approximately 5 percent between 2004 and 2005.
Preliminary figures also indicate an increase in the U.S. infant mortality rate from 6.79 per 1,000 live births in 2004 to 6.89 in 2005. However, this increase is not considered statistically significant. Congenital malformations, or birth defects, were the leading cause of infant mortality in 2005, followed by disorders related to preterm birth and low birthweight. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) was the third leading cause of infant death in the United States.
The full report is available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/. Final U.S. mortality data for 2005 will not be available until next year.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
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