US Life Expectancy Hits Record
Americans expected to live almost 78 years, but country still places 42nd
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2007 4:58 PM CDT
Elders dance in a recreation center for pensioners in Rome Monday, April 30, 2007. Sign on the wall reads "Be kind and you will receive kindness." Italian life expectancy is 78.3 years for men and 84...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – 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.