After declining over the previous four years, life expectancy of Americans rose by a small amount in 2018, according to the most recent data released by the National Center for Health Statistics.
Between 2014 and 2017, life expectancy fell 3.6 months in total (2.4 months for females, 4.8 months for males), but between 2017 and 2018 it increased 1.2 months for both sexes, attributed primarily to fewer deaths from cancer and drug overdoses. That translates into a life expectancy for a female born in 2018 of 81.2 years and for a male, 76.2 years.
Still, life expectancy is lower than at its peak time—of 81.3 years for females and 76.5 years for males born in 2014—and represents a return to levels seen in 2013 for women and 2010 for men. And the U.S. still ranks lower than most other developed nations, including Japan, Canada, and nearly all Western European countries.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see U.S. Life Expectancy Varies by 20 Years.