Americans Living Longer
January 7, 2014

CDC Study Shows All Americans Are Living Longer

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redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Americans are living longer than ever before, and those men and women born in 2009 can expect to have an average lifespan of 78.5 years, according to a new study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Monday.

That’s an increase from 78.1 years in 2008, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reported. Since then, life expectancy has increased again to 78.7 years, according to HealthDay News.

“Between 2008 and 2009, life expectancy at birth increased for all groups considered,” wrote report author Dr. Elizabeth Arias of the CDC’s Division of Vital Statistics. “Life expectancy increased for both males (from 75.6 to 76.0) and females (80.6 to 80.9).”

The report also showed an increase in life expectancy among all races. Life expectancy among white Americans increased from 78.5 years in 2008 to 78.8 years in 2009, while the black population experienced an increase from 74.0 years to 74.5 years and the Hispanic population rose from 81.0 to 81.2.

Furthermore, the CDC reported that from 2008 to 2009, there was a decrease in mortality from heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory diseases. However, those gains were somewhat offset by increased rates of chronic liver disease and suicide.

“Decreases in mortality from heart disease, unintentional injuries, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and homicide contributed to increases in life expectancy among the male population,” the report added. “Increases in life expectancy for the female population were a result of decreases in mortality from heart disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and Chronic lower respiratory diseases.”

Robert Anderson, chief of the Mortality Statistics Branch at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, noted that life expectancy has been steadily rising for the past five decades. He also noted that improved treatment of cardiovascular disease and stroke were among the main reasons for the increased lifespan in Americans.

“To the extent that we all want a bounty of years in life, this report conveys encouraging news. Life expectancy at birth in the US is rising for all groups,” Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, told HealthDay News.

However, Katz, who was not involved in the research, noted that there were “some dark clouds swirling around the silver linings of data. Disparities in life expectancy persist, both between women and men, and between whites and blacks.” He also said that life expectancy in the US was still lower than in many other developed countries.

Data used in the preparation of the report included 2009 final mortality statistics, population estimates based on the 2000 census, and 2009 Medicare data for people between the ages of 66 and 99.