Nation Digest

Nation Digest: Life Expectancy Hits New High

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Life Expectancy Hits New High of Nearly 78

U.S. life expectancy has risen to a new high, standing at nearly 78 years, the government reported Wednesday.

The increase is due mainly to falling rates in almost all leading causes of death. The average life expectancy for babies born in 2007 is nearly three months longer than for those born in 2006.

The preliminary data are based on about 90 percent of the death certificates collected in 2007. The information comes from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The United States continues to lag behind about 30 countries in estimated life span. Japan has the longest life expectancy: 83 for people born in 2007, according to the World Health Organization.

-- Associated Press

Ranks of Uninsured, Poor Likely to Rise

The numbers of poor and uninsured Americans are probably rising, with more than 38.8 million thought to be in poverty.

Rebecca Blank, the Commerce Department's undersecretary of economic affairs, spoke in advance of next month's release of census data. Blank said the 2008 data will probably show a "statistically significant" increase in the poverty rate, to at least 12.7 percent. That would represent a jump of more than 1.5 million poor people last year.

The number of people who lack health insurance is also expected to increase from the current estimate of 46 million.

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