The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a federal agency, has reported the remarkable news that U.S. life expectancy has dropped for the first time since 1993. According to Mortality in the United States, 2015 (NCHS Data Brief No. 267, December 2016):
- Life expectancy for the U.S. population in 2015 was 78.8 years, a decrease of 0.1 year from 2014.
- The age-adjusted death rate increased 1.2% from 724.6 deaths per 100,000 standard population in 2014 to 733.1 in 2015.
- The 10 leading causes of death in 2015 remained the same as in 2014. Age-adjusted death rates increased for eight leading causes and decreased for one.
The one death rate which improved was for cancer. So, we are “winning” that war, at least relatively speaking. The entire decrease was for life expectancy at birth. Life expectancy at age 65 was unchanged from the previous year. In other words, children and working-age people are bearing the burden of this decline.