Little Change in Life Expectancy in the United States, CDC Says

Megan Brooks

April 21, 2016

Between 2013 and 2014, overall life expectancy at birth for the total US population held steady at 78.8 years, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

For men, life expectancy was 76.4 years, and for women, it was 81.2 years, Elizabeth Arias, PhD, from the NCHS, Division of Vital Statistics, notes in a new NCHA data brief, published online April 20.

Life expectancy increased by 0.4 years for non-Hispanic black men (going from 71.8 to 72.2 years) and by 0.1 years for Hispanic men (going from 79.1 to 79.2 years). Life expectancy remained unchanged for non-Hispanic white men (76.5 years).

Among women, life expectancy increased by 0.2 years for Hispanic women (going from 83.8 to 84.0 years), remained unchanged for non-Hispanic black women (78.1 years), and declined by 0.1 years for non-Hispanic white women (going from 81.2 to 81.1 years).

Between 2013 and 2014, life expectancy at age 65 years increased by 0.1 years for men (going from 17.9 to 18.0 years) and was unchanged for women (20.5 years).

Hispanic men experienced the greatest increase in life expectancy at age 65 years (going from 19.3 to 19.6 years), followed by Hispanic women (going from 22.0 to 22.2 years). All other groups experienced an increase of 0.1 years in life expectancy at age 65 years.

"The trend in life expectancy at birth has been one of improvement since national estimates were first published with 1900 data," Dr Arias notes in her report.

Life expectancy represents the average number of years a hypothetical group of infants would live at each attained age if the group were subject, throughout its lifetime, to the age-specific death rates prevailing for the actual population in a given year.

Data for the current report are from the 2013 and 2014 mortality files from the National Vital Statistics System. The life table estimates were adjusted for race and Hispanic origin misclassification on US death certificates.

The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

NCHS Data Brief No. 244. Published online April 20, 2016. Full text

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