Intended for healthcare professionals


US life expectancy falls for third year in a row

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 04 December 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k5118
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal, Canada

Life expectancy at birth in the United States fell again in 2017 for the third year running, the longest sustained decline since 1915-18, when the first world war and the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic were among the causes of death.

A continued increase in deaths by overdose in 2017 was the biggest factor driving rates upward, but seven of the top 10 causes of mortality saw a statistically significant increase while only one, cancer, saw a significant decrease.

Life expectancy at birth for women in 2017 was unchanged at 81.1 years, while for men it fell from 76.2 to 76.1 years, and for both sexes from 78.7 to 78.6 …

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