Life Expectancy

  • Life expectancy is at an all-time high for both men and women (75.3 years and 80.4 years, respectively).
  • The gap between male and female life expectancy has narrowed since a peak of 7.8 years in 1979 to 5.1 years in 2007 (the same as in 2006).
  • Life expectancy for black men has reached 70 years for the first time.
  • The death rate fell for the eighth straight year to a new low of 760.3 deaths per 100,000 people. That’s 2.1 percent lower than the 2006 rate of 776.5. The 2007 death rate is half that of 60 years ago (1,532 per 100,000 in 1947.)
  • In 2007, the number of people who died in the United States was 2,423,995. That’s a 2,269 decrease from 2006.
  • Heart disease and cancer accounted for almost half (48.5 percent) of all deaths in 2007.
  • From 2006 to 2007, deaths for eight of the 15 leading causes of death dropped. There were fewer deaths from influenza/pneumonia, homicide, accidents, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.
  • However, deaths from the fourth leading cause of mortality, chronic lower respiratory diseases, increased 1.7 percent. Death rates also increased for Parkinson’s disease, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, and Alzheimer’s.
  • In 2007, there were 11,061 deaths due to HIV/AIDS, a 10 percent drop from 2006, the biggest one-year drop since 1998. HIV remains the sixth leading cause of death among those aged 25 to 44.
  • The death rate for infants was 6.77 per 1,000 live births in 2007, up 1.2 percent from 2006, but the increase was not statistically significant, the researchers noted. The leading cause of infant mortality was birth defects followed by problems related to preterm birth and low birth weight. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) was the third leading cause of infant death.