January 30, 2020
Life expectancy in the United States has risen after four years of decline, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Overall life expectancy rose to 78.7 years in 2018, a slight increase from 2017, when life expectancy stood at 78.6 years. Among women, life expectancy rose to 81.2 years. For men, it increased to 76.2.
Death rates declined by 1.1% in 2018.
The increase in life expectancy can be chalked up to significant decreases to six of the 10 leading causes of death. Deaths due to heart disease (0.8%), cancer (2.2%), unintentional injuries (2.9%), chronic low respiratory disease (2.9%), stroke (1.3%) and Alzheimer's disease (1.6%) all dropped.
Deaths from overdose, which falls under the category of unintentional injuries, dropped by 4.1% in 2018. Cancer has been declining for a while now — partly thanks to lung cancer declines caused by a drop-off in smoking. Overall cancer mortality decreased by 29% from 1991 to 2017, according to the American Cancer Society.
However, two other leading causes of death did rise. Influenza and pneumonia deaths increased by 4.2% in 2018, while suicides increased by 1.4%.
Infant mortality rate also contributed to the rise in life expectancy, decreasing by 2.3% in 2018. Deaths caused by cord and placental complications decreased by 12.8%, while deaths from unintentional injuries decreased by 9.9%.
Death rates either declined or stayed the same among all age groups. Seniors over the age of 85 saw a 0.9% improvement from the previous year. Mortality also decreased for those aged 15 to 24 by 5.1%.