Life expectancy in the U.S. drops for first time in more than 20 years

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ATLANTA — The life expectancy in the United States has declined for the first time since 1993, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The life expectancy of an American born in 2015 is roughly 36 day shorter than one born in 2014.

For males, life expectancy changed from 76.5 years in 2014 to 76.3 years in 2015 — a decrease of 0.2 years, the report said.

For females, life expectancy decreased from 81.3 years in 2014 to 81.2 years in 2015.

ABC News called it “an exceedingly rare event in a year that did not include a major disease outbreak.”

“Other one-year declines occurred in 1993, when the nation was in the throes of the AIDS epidemic, and 1980, the result of an especially nasty flu season,” ABC reported.

The 10 leading causes of death remained the same from 2014 to 2025:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases
  • Unintentional injuries
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Influenza and pneumonia
  • Kidney disease
  • Suicide

The 10 leading causes accounted for 74.2 percent of all deaths in the U.S. in 2015, the report said.


The infant mortality rate increased in 2015, but not significantly, according to the CDC report. The IMR is generally regarded as a good indicator of the overall health of a population.

However,  demographer Philip Morgan told NPR, “There’s not a better indicator of well-being than life expectancy.”

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