Life expectancy up in the U.S., says CDC

Good news from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today. Life expectancy in the U.S. is at an all time high of almost 78 years. The most recent figures, based on 2005 data, indicate that a child born in 2005 can expect to live to 78.

The death rates for the main killers — heart disease, cancer, and stroke — declined in 2005 from the year before. Here are some highlights of the report:

  • Life expectancy for the white population was 78.3 in 2005, unchanged from the record high of 2004. Life expectancy for the black population increased slightly from 73.1 years in 2004 to 73.2 years in 2005
  • The age-adjusted U.S. death rate fell to below 800 deaths per 100,000 population in 2005 — an all-time low.
  • The death rate from the three leading killers in the United States — heart disease, cancer and stroke — declined in 2005 compared to the previous year. The age-adjusted death rate from heart disease fell from 217 deaths per 100,000 in 2004 to 210.3 in 2005, while the age-adjusted death rate from cancer dropped from 185.8 deaths per 100,000 in 2004 to 183.8 in 2005. The age-adjusted death rate from stroke declined from 50 deaths per 100,000 in 2004 to 46.6 in 2005.
  • The age-adjusted death rates for the seventh leading cause of death, Alzheimer’s disease, and the 14th leading cause of death, Parkinson’s disease, both increased by approximately 5 percent between 2004 and 2005.

With all the fear-mongering focus on chemicals, pesticides, air and water quality, food, etc., it’s useful to look back at some earlier statistics. CDC figures also show that the average life expectancy in 1900 was a mere 47.3 years. By 1970 that figure had risen to 70.8. There must be something good about modern life, despite what the doomsayers tell us.