Americans can expect to live longer than ever before, according to figures out today, thanks to falling rates of deaths from heart disease, cancer, and stroke. In 2005, US life expectancy increased to almost 78 years, the country’s highest number ever—but only 42nd in the world. The news wasn't all good: Infant mortality increased from the previous year.
Black babies under age 1 were more likely to die than white babies. Overall, whites enjoyed longer life expectancy rates than blacks, and women had higher rates than men, Reuters reports. One CDC statistician predicts that if rates of death from the three leading causes continue to drop, life expectancy should track them and improve.