Life Expectancy Declines for First Time in 22 Years

By Shelby Lorman

A report published Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics found the U.S. population life expectancy to be 78.8 years in 2015, a 0.1 year decrease from 2014.

There was no exact explanation for the decrease, but factors such as sex, race and leading causes of death — including cancer, diabetes and heart disease — were considered.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Females consistently have a higher life expectancy, around 81 years of age compared to 78 years for males. The report shows that the difference in life expectancy between sexes increased from 4.8 years in 2014 to 4.9 years in 2015. The report also found that age-adjusted death rates went up .9% for non-Hispanic black men, 1% for non-Hispanic white men, and 1.6% for non-Hispanic white women, with rates for non-Hispanic black females, Hispanic males and Hispanic females remaining relatively constant from 2014 to 2015.

Eight of the ten leading causes of death increased from 2014, and accounted for 74.2% of all U.S. deaths in 2015. The only decrease in cause of death was cancer, down 1.7% from 2014.

As this article suggests, the exact cause remains a mystery, but the trend is troubling.