Americans are living longer, study finds

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

lifetime rates
Lifetime rates differ depending on race and gender.

In the 1850s, living past the age of 50 would have been considered a miracle, since the average life expectancy was below 40 years.

Well, that was then. According to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans are living longer than ever. In fact, any person who was born after the year 2009 should expect to live for about 78 full years!

“Between 2008 and 2009, life expectancy at birth increased for all groups considered,” wrote report author Dr. Elizabeth Arias of the CDC’s Division of Vital Statistics. “Life expectancy increased for both males (from 75.6 to 76.0) and females (80.6 to 80.9).” This is true between different races..

While life expectancy for white Americans increased from 78.5 years in 2008 to 78.8 years in 2009, the black population jumped from 74 years in 2008 to 74.5 years. Meanwhile, Latinos went from 81.0 to 81.2 years between 2008 and 2009. What is causing us to live longer? According to the CDC, heart diseases, injuries, chronic breathing diseases, and homicides have been killing less men, while fewer women are dying from cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and breathing diseases.

“To the extent that we all want a bounty of years in life, this report conveys encouraging news. Life expectancy at birth in the US is rising for all groups,” said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. However, there is something about this news that concerns researchers.

“Disparities in life expectancy persist, both between women and men, and between whites and blacks,” explains Katz. Additionally, citizens in America aren’t living as long as those in other developed countries.

Featured image courtesy of Patrick on Flickr. Image of lifetime graph courtesy of CDC.