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Aging & Longevity

Life Expectancy in U.S. Continues to Reach New Highs

CDC report based on 2012 data says most young Americans can expect to live 78.8 years - women to 81.2, men to 76.4

Oct. 8, 2014 - Life expectancy at birth for the U.S. population reached a record high of 78.8 years in 2012, according to a new report from the National Vital Statistics System of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Life expectancy at birth represents the average number of years that a group of infants would live if the group was to experience throughout life the age-specific death rates present in the year of birth. U.S. life expectancy at birth for the total population was 78.8 years in 2012 - an increase of 0.1 year from 78.7 years in 2011 (see graphic at top of page).

In 2012, life expectancy was 81.2 years for females and 76.4 for males. Life expectancy for females was consistently higher than that for males. In 2012, the difference in life expectancy between females and males was 4.8 years, the same as in 2011.

Highlights of the report include:

·   The age-adjusted death rate for the United States decreased 1.1% from 2011 to 2012 to a record low of 732.8 per 100,000 standard population.

·   The 10 leading causes of death in 2012 remained the same as in 2011. Age-adjusted death rates decreased significantly from 2011 to 2012 for 8 of the 10 leading causes and increased significantly for one leading cause (suicide).

·   The infant mortality rate decreased 1.5% from 2011 to 2012 to a historic low of 597.8 infant deaths per 100,000 live births. The 10 leading causes of infant death in 2012 remained the same as in 2011.

Much of this recent improvement in death rates and life expectancy 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 report says.


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What are the leading causes of death?

In 2012, the 10 leading causes of death (heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, unintentional injuries, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide) remained the same as in 2011 and accounted for 73.8% of all deaths in the United States. (See graphic below news story)

From 2011 to 2012, age-adjusted death rates declined significantly for 8 of 10 leading causes of death. The rate decreased 1.8% for heart disease, 1.5% for cancer, 2.4% for chronic lower respiratory diseases, 2.6% for stroke, 3.6% for Alzheimer’s disease, 1.9% for diabetes, 8.3% for influenza and pneumonia, and 2.2% for kidney disease. The rate for suicide increased 2.4%. The rate for unintentional injuries remained the same.

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, with women living longer than men.

Death rates in 2012 continued to decline among most groups defined by sex, race, and Hispanic origin. Although changes in mortality are relatively small from one year to the next, long-term trends show the apparent progress in reducing mortality. For example, the age-adjusted death rate in the United States decreased 15.7% from 869.0 to 732.8 deaths per 100,000 standard population from 2000 to 2012.

This report presents 2012 U.S. final mortality data on deaths and death rates by demographic and medical characteristics. These data provide information on mortality patterns among residents of the United States by such variables as sex, race and ethnicity, and cause of death.

Information on mortality patterns is key to understanding changes in the health and well-being of the U.S. population. Life expectancy estimates, age-adjusted death rates by race and ethnicity and sex, 10 leading causes of death, and 10 leading causes of infant death were analyzed by comparing 2012 final data with 2011 final data.

>> More at the CDC


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