This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life Expectancy at All-Time High in the US

The US Centers for Disease Control just released their latest estimates of life expectancy in the US, based on death certificate data for 2009. 
Life expectancy at birth increased to 78.2 years in 2009, up slightly from 78.0 years in 2008. Life expectancy was up two-tenths of a year for males (75.7 years) and up one-tenth of a year for females (80.6 years). Life expectancy for the U.S. white population increased by two-tenths of a year. Life expectancy for black males (70.9 years) and females (77.4 years) was unchanged in 2009. The gap in life expectancy between the white and black populations was 4.3 years in 2009, two-tenths of a year increase from the gap in 2008 of 4.1 years.
So, the good news is that life expectancy is up, but the bad news is that it did not increase for African-Americans, and so the white-black gap in life expectancy increased a bit. It is also useful to keep in mind that life expectancy in the United States is still lower than in all of the western European nations, as well as lower than in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, not to mention Japan, despite the fact that we spend more money per person on health care than any other country in the world.

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