US Life Expectancy Hits Record High Newborns can now look forward to 78.2 years of breathing By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Mar 17, 2011 9:39 AM CDT 7 comments Comments You're more likely than ever to live long enough to be an old dude on the beach. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – US life expectancy hit an all-time high in 2009, according to new government data released yesterday. A baby born that year can expect to live an average of 78.2 years, USA Today reports, up from 78 years in 2008. That’s in part because death rates fell significantly for 10 of the 15 leading causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s and even homicide. “Basically, this is nothing but good news,” says one statistician for the National Center for Health Statistics. The reason for the drops will be explored when the final numbers are released.