Life Expectancy Drops For White Women

Photographed by Julia Lola Wang.
White women born in the U.S. now have a slightly shorter life expectancy than in previous years, according to a new report from the CDC.

Overall, life expectancies for both men and women didn't change between 2013 and 2014, the most recent years available. However, differences appear when those results are broken down by race. White women saw a (slight) decline in life expectancy for the first time since 2005. Those born in 2014 were, on average, expected to die about one month earlier (at 81.1) than those born in 2013. But Hispanic women saw a slight increase, from 83.8 to 84 years, and Black women saw no changes in life expectancy (staying steady at 78.1).

The data were similar for men: White men also saw a small decline, but it was so tiny that it shows up as no difference. However, Hispanic and Black men saw a slight increase.

Although the original report doesn't include causes of death in its analyses, Elizabeth Arias, PhD, the researcher behind the report, did look into that. She found that suicide, drug overdoses, and liver diseases were the main causes for the drops in life expectancy.

But despite that disheartening (albeit minor) drop, we're doing pretty well in general. In fact, just a few months ago we saw that an increasing number of Americans are making it to age 100 — and those centenarians are also living beyond that milestone birthday. So don't worry too much: You've most likely still got plenty of years ahead of you.
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