Frequently, when developed nations are up for comparison, for whatever reason the person doing the comparisons thinks is valid, one of the indicators of how well a nation is doing is life expectancy.
In 2018, life expectancy at birth was 78.7 years for the total U.S. population—an increase of 0.1 year from 78.6 years in 2017. For males, life expectancy changed from 76.1 in 2017 to 76.2 in 2018—an increase of 0.1 year. For females, life expectancy increased 0.1 year from 81.1 years in 2017 to 81.2 in 2018.
Life expectancy for females was consistently higher than it was for males. In 2018, the difference in life expectancy between females and males was 5.0 years, the same as in 2017.
In 2018, life expectancy at age 65 for the total population was 19.5 years, an increase of 0.1 year from 2017. For males, life expectancy at age 65 increased 0.1 year from 18.0 in 2017 to 18.1 in 2018. For females, life expectancy at age 65 increased 0.1 year from 20.6 years in 2017 to 20.7 in 2018. The difference in life expectancy at age 65 between females and males was 2.6 years, unchanged from 2017.
President Trump’s election and service in office may have nothing to do with this. In fact, when it comes to American mortality, not much has really changed.
In 2018, the 10 leading causes of death (heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide) remained the same as in 2017. Causes of death are ranked according to number of deaths (1). The 10 leading causes accounted for 73.8% of all deaths in the United States in 2018.
The truth is that so many fewer Americans are smoking that the impact may well be part of these figures as well as improvements in health care with lower mortality rates.
Whatever the case, Americans are living longer.