Life Expectancy


According to the NVSR 20021, the life expectancy of Americans has risen over the decades to an estimated 76.7 years in 1999. Past years show an improvement compared to estimates of 62.9 years in 1940, 68.2 in 1950, 69.7 in 1960, 70.8 in 1970, 73.7 in 1980, and 75.4 in 1990.

Gender and life expectancy: Male and female life expectancy differs as reported by the NVSR with only 73.9 years for men, and 79.4 years for women in 1999. Women have always lived longer over the records of all periods.

Race and life expectancy: Life expectancy also differs by race, with the NVSR reporting a life expectancy of 77.3 years for whites, and 71.4 years for blacks. Black men are particularly disadvantaged with only 67.8 years, compared to 74.7 years for black women. Life expectancy disparities by race have existed over the records for all periods as shown by the NVSR1.

Note that these numbers are averages over the population or sub-populations. It seems reasonable to assume that half people live longer than this, but also half of people live fewer years than these figures suggest.

1. National Vital Statistics Report, Vol.50, No.6, March 21, 2002

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