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Living Longer: Life Expectancy Hits New High

Life Expectancy Is Nearly 78 Years for Babies Born in 2005, Says CDC
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 12, 2007 -- Life expectancy is greater than ever in the U.S., hovering a smidge below 78 years, the CDC today announced.

But America's lengthier life span still lags behind life expectancy in dozens of countries, according to World Health Organization statistics.

A baby born in the U.S. in 2005 has a life expectancy of 77.9 years. That's an extra tenth of a year, compared to life expectancy in 2004, according to the CDC's life expectancy statistics.

The CDC also reports that the top three causes of death -- heart disease, cancer, and stroke -- declined in 2005, compared with 2004, leading to greater life expectancy. However, heart disease, cancer, and stroke remain the country's top killers.

The life expectancy statistics are based on the CDC's preliminary data on more than 2.4 million deaths nationwide in 2005.

Life Expectancy Details

Life expectancy continues to be greater for women than for men and for whites compared with African-Americans -- but life expectancy edged up enough to reach a record high for African-Americans.

Here are the life expectancies for girls and boys born in 2005:

  • White girl: 80.8 years (unchanged from 2004)
  • White boy: 75.7 years (unchanged from 2004)
  • African-American girl: 76.5 years (up from 76.3 years in 2004)
  • African-American boy: 69.6 years (up from 69.5 years in 2004)

However, 26 countries have higher life expectancies for both men and women, according to the World Health Organization.

Japan has the world's greatest life expectancy for women (86 years) and the European republic of San Marino has the world's greatest life expectancy for men (80 years), according to the World Health Organization.

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