Life Expectancy in the U.S. Has Declined, Again


A baby born last year in the expected to live about 78 years and 7 months, on average.

Overall, the statistics show a "downward trend in life expectancy since 2014", a time period in which Americans have lost 0.3 years of life, he told AFP, describing the trend as "very concerning".

The Washington Post notes that other factors contributed to an increased death rate a year ago, including a spike in influenza deaths as well as fatalities from chronic low respiratory diseases, Alzheimer's disease and strokes.

"Life expectancy gives us a snapshot of the nation's overall health and these sobering statistics are a wakeup call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable", the director added.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there were more than 2.8 million deaths nationwide in 2017. That equates to an age-adjusted rate of 21.7 deaths per 100,000, an increase of 9.6 percent from the year before. The rates of drug overdose deaths involving heroin, natural and semisynthetic opioids and methadone were essentially unchanged from 2016. For additional context, In 1999 the death rate for drug overdoses among men was around 8 in every 100,000 individuals. Between 1999 and 2017, the suicide rate increased by 33 percent.

The number one cause of death in the United States, heart disease, levelled off. Improvements in prevention and treatment of the condition usually offset increases in other leading causes of death.

Overdoses were a major factor when U.S. life expectancy dropped slightly in 2015 for the first time in decades.

"We must all work together to reverse this trend and help ensure that all Americans live longer and healthier", Redfield said in his statement, of the decline in life expectancy. In 1918, life expectancy was 39.

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Dr. William Dietz, a disease prevention expert at George Washington University, said a sense of hopelessness over finances and a widening gulf between the wealthy and the poor could also be driving the increasing death rates.

Rates of drug overdose deaths in the USA continued to increase.

The 55-64 age group's death rate was lower, comparatively. And a third report from the center found that those aged 65 or more years had the lowest rate of drug overdose deaths compared with other age groups. Since 2008, it has ranked as the 10th leading cause of death for all ages in the US. Almost a quarter said life would be better and about as many said it would be the same.

Indeed, the release was accompanied by two additional reports which took a closer look at overdoses and suicides in the nation. But the CDC noted a big jump in that segment of the population: The death rate was 4.2 in 1999 and has risen to 28.

Most alarming is that suicide rate in the most rural counties in the now 1.8 times the rate in the most urban counties: with the rate in most rural counties at 20.0 per 100,000, and in the most urban at 11.1 per 100,000.

And while efforts to combat the opioid epidemic "are starting to stem the tide", she says, "we need to be doing much more".

Most of these deaths were unintentional in nature. In years past, reductions in heart disease deaths were enough to serve as a counterbalance to other causes of death, but that is no longer true, Anderson said.