NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Life Expectancy Up, Infant Mortality Down

December 8, 1998

The average expected life span of Americans increased by nearly one-half year last year alone. And infant mortality in the U.S. fell to an all-time low, according to a report from Johns Hopkins University and the National Center for Health Statistics.

  • Life expectancy reached 76.5 years in 1997 -- compared to 76.1 in 1996.
  • Infant mortality rates dropped to 7.1 deaths per 1,000 live births last year from 7.2 deaths in 1996.
  • Births outnumbered deaths by 1.6 million last year -- translating into a rate of population increase of 5.9 per 1,000 persons, unchanged from 1996.
  • Death rates declined for heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, homicide and suicide in 1997.

Birth rates for American women 40 or older continued to increase, while birth-rates among teen-age mothers continued to decline for the sixth consecutive year.

Source: Reuters, "U.S. Life Expectancy Up, Infant Mortality Rate Falls to Record Low," Washington Times, December 8, 1998.


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