In 2015, the average American’s life expectancy was cut short by a little more than a month. For the first time in two decades, U.S. life expectancy for someone born in 2015 fell from 78.9 years to 78.8 years (National Center for Health Statistics, December 8, 2016). Of the top ten leading causes of death in the U.S., eight showed an increase.
“This is a big deal,” says Philip Morgan, a demographer at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In an NPR interview, Morgan said, “There’s not a better indicator of well-being than life expectancy. The fact that it’s leveling off in the U.S. is a striking finding.”