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US Life Expectancy Reaches Record High

Oct 08, 2014 02:59 PM EDT

The US birth rate may have plateaued in the 1990s, but that doesn't mean there aren't more people strolling - or scootering - on our sidewalks. A new set of statistics has revealed that US life expectancy has reached a new record high, with the average person expected to live for at least 78.8 years.

That's at least according to a new "Mortality in the United States" Data Brief from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The data, collected and analyzed by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), primarily concerns the year 2012, comparing and contrasting those statistics to the previous year. Most notably, the age-adjusted death rate for US citizens decreased 1.1 percent, to a record low of 732.8 per 100,000 standard population in 2012.

Infant mortality also saw an encouraging decline, decreasing by 1.5 percent between 2011 and 2012 to a historic low of 597.8 infant deaths per 100,000 live births.

These factors alone were enough to tilt the scales for average longevity, where life expectancy for US citizens increased by a tenth of a year in 2012 - the highest life expectancy on record.

It's important to note, however, that this expectancy is calculated from birth, meaning that depending on a citizen's life choices and medical needs, expectancy can radically change. Detroit resident Jeralean Talley, for instance, is 115 years old and the oldest American citizen. She also happens to be the second oldest living person in the world.

And females are still living much longer than males. In the United States, the average woman can now expect to live to about age 81. For males, they can consider themselves lucky to be pushing 76.

And these new statistics support a global trend, too. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently revealed that between improved child mortality in developing countries, and improved heart attack and stroke prevention in developed ones, the global life expectancy continues to significantly rise. Citizens in the top 10 healthiest nations alone can expect to make it to about 82 years old.

And while the United States is nowhere near that top 10, the US Census Bureau recently reported that we can still expect to see the nation's population of citizens 65-years-old and older to number nearly 84 million by 2050. The United States will be a nation of the wizened, with over 21 percent of the total US population being elderly.

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