US Life Expectancy at Record High: 77.9

By Mat Probasco,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2009 5:34 AM CDT
Chart shows life expectancy change, 1975 to 2007
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Americans are living longer than ever before, with an average life expectancy of 77.9 years, reports NPR. The CDC, citing 2007 death certificate records, says US men now live 75.3 years, and women 80.4. Great news, until you consider people in more than two dozen other countries are living longer, notes Joseph Shapiro.

Overall life expectancy in the US increased 1.4 years from 1997 to 2007. The change reflects drops in killers such as influenza, pneumonia, and homicide, as well as the leading causes of death in the US: heart disease and cancer. For the first time, black males reached a life expectancy of 70 years. Japan continues to lead the world with life expectancies of 79 years for men and 86 for women.