Average Life Expectancy Becomes Longer

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 , Washington Post reports.

Life expectancy continues its upward trend in the U.S., notching up by about two-and-a-half months in 2007 over 2006.

That may not sound like a lot, but step back and look at the gain over a decade: Babies born in 2007 have a life expectancy that's 1.4 years greater than babies born in 1997 , WebMD reports.

The U.S. mortality rate dropped to a record low 760.3 deaths per 100,000 people. That is half of what it was 60 years ago. Declines were seen between 2006 and 2007 for several leading causes of death, including flu and pneumonia, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension , McKnight's Long Term Care News reports.

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