• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • US Wealth and Innovation Drive Record Life Expectancy

    The Obama Administration attempts to justify its unprecedented torrent of regulation as necessary to protect Americans’ health and welfare. But new data on U.S. life expectancy certainly belie regulators’ seemingly incessant assertions that America is unfit for man and beast.

    Life expectancy at birth increased to a whopping 78.2 years in 2009, up two-tenths of a year from 2008—and a mere 49.2 in 1900, according to the report issued on Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control. Women outlive men 80.6 years to 75.7, on average, although the gap has generally decreased since its peak of 7.8 years in 1979.

    From a statistical standpoint, life expectancy represents fewer infant deaths and the increased longevity of seniors. Today, the average 65-year-old woman in the United States can expect to live an additional 20 years, and her male counterpart can look forward to another 17 years.

    The infant mortality rate for 2009 (preliminary) was 6.42 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, a decrease of 2.6 percent from 2008.

    Contrary to claims that only government can save us, Americans are living longer because of stunning scientific and technological progress. The advent of modern pharmaceuticals, diagnostic tools, and vaccines, as well as chlorination, insecticides, and refrigeration, has dramatically reduced the risks of dying.

    Indeed, the overall age-adjusted death rate reached a record low of 741 per 100,000 people in 2009, some 2.3 percent lower than the prior year. This marks the 10th year in a row that U.S. death rates have declined.

    Moreover, deaths from 10 of the 15 leading causes declined “significantly” in 2009, according to the CDC: heart disease (declined 3.7 percent); cancer (1.1 percent); chronic lower respiratory diseases (4.1 percent); stroke (4.2 percent); accidents/unintentional injuries (4.1 percent); Alzheimer’s disease (4.1 percent); diabetes (4.1 percent); influenza and pneumonia (4.7 percent); septicemia (1.8 percent); and, homicide (6.8 percent).

    Evidence abounds that improved living standards are both a cause and consequence of societal wealth. Higher incomes increase access to goods and services that promote robust health. In turn, healthier people are more productive and innovative, generating even more wealth. These are facts the President and his band of regulators would do well to remember before crafting yet more killer dictates.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to US Wealth and Innovation Drive Record Life Expectancy

    1. Bobbie says:

      All in all I do respect the report and appreciate it if it's accurate.

      Hard to believe the stats regarding cancer from watching what others went through within two years. Seems like cancer deaths come in clumps? Almost like it's controlled? You hear about it everyday then you don't for years. People are dying left and right with nothing mentioned. The cases I've witnessed were reckless, probably from doctoring clinics with outside government influence. Unknown to the patient who pays their own in full. Absolutely horrific!

      Also a witness to my father who had symptoms of a heart attack that was simply defined as a pinched nerve, 4 separate doctors visits, all regarding the pain, massive heart attack left him with 25%? of his energy and pills galore until lifes end. Pace maker hook up to the computer doesn't give accurate readings and causes unnecessary visits or mistaken for actual visits needed! Technology may be convenient,, but how accurate for it's convenience is it really?

      I believe Alzheimer’s disease was created to label the elderly for fear, special interests and further government intervention, effecting not only the elderly but the family. I believe with age and becoming elderly the mind can become vulnerable and easily influenced into whatever is being manipulated. Alzheimer's is easy to detect if that is the intent. I witnessed this also.

      We need people we can depend on in the medical field with the sincerity to want to heal without riff-raff and outside influence. Way too much government involvement and influence regarding those that pay for their personal health.

    2. Tham says:

      Putting in effort to expand life expactancy is great to prolonged service period of human. I guess it is difficult to define a suitable life span for a particular race or country. It is a statistical figure which could be improve through effort! Great day everybody!

    3. Bobbie says:

      Tham, what do you mean by writing: "I guess it is difficult to define a suitable life span for a particular race or country." Isn't it up to the individual to define their own life expectancy according to their own individual lifestyles? People improve their own health by their own means. This hasn't become a function of government's has it?

      Great day to you as well!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×