US Life Expectancy Falls for Third Time Since 1980 Though it did increase for black men, hitting all-time high By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Dec 10, 2010 7:04 AM CST 6 comments Comments If you ever get up to having 78 candles on your cake, congratulations! You have outlived the average American. Also, you must have had a truly gigantic cake. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – The overall US life expectancy fell slightly in 2008, from 77.9 years to (gasp) 77.8 years, according to a new report from the CDC. It’s the first drop since 2005, and just the third since 1980. Actually, to be more precise, it was the life expectancy of white Americans that fell, with both white men and women both losing an average 0.2 years, falling to 75.3 years and 80.3 years, respectively. Black men actually saw their life expectancy rise by 0.2 years, to an all-time high of 70.2, while black women held steady at 76.8. As for what’s killing us, lung disease took an almost 8% jump, passing stroke as the third-leading cause of death, according to WebMD. Alzheimer’s disease, flu/pneumonia, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and suicide have all seen increased death rates as well.