According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, an American can expect to live to be 77.9 years old. This projection is higher than it has ever been. Here are some additional highlights from the report:

  • The life expectancy for women in the United States is 80.4 years; for men, it is 75.2 years.
  • The gender gap is narrowing; the 5.2 years difference in 2004 was the smallest difference since 1946.
  • Alzheimer’s disease moved into 7th place among leading killers in the U.S., passing influenza and pneumonia.
  • Age-adjusted death rates fell to a record low of 801 deaths per 100,000 people in 2004, down from almost 833 deaths per 100,000 in 2003.
  • Total deaths (nearly 2.4 million in 2004) declined almost 50,000 between 2003 and 2004—the biggest 1-year drop in several decades.