Life expectancy for Americans has decreased slightly from 77.9 years to 77.8 years, and stroke has dropped to the fourth leading cause of death, according to the latest National Vital Statistics report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
According to the CDC's report, Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2008, which contains just about every imaginable statistic about dying in America, the life expectancy for males fell from 75.4 years to 75.3, and from 80.4 years to 80.3 for females.
On the living longer side, however, black males had a record high life expectancy in 2008 of 70.2 years -- up from 70 years in 2007. The life expectancy gap between the white and black populations was 4.6 years in 2008, a decrease of two-tenths of a year from 2007, according to the CDC.
What's Kills Us the Most? Heart disease and cancer, still the two leading causes of death in the U.S., accounted for 48 percent of the total 2,473,018 deaths recorded in 2008, according to the report.
Stroke, for decades the third leading killer in the U.S., is now the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
n addition to stroke, death rates declined significantly for five of the other 15 leading causes of death: accidents or unintentional injuries (3.5 percent), homicide (3.3 percent), diabetes (3.1 percent), heart disease (2.2 percent), and cancer (1.6 percent).
In addition to chronic lower respiratory disease, death rates increased significantly in 2008 for Alzheimer's disease (7.5 percent), influenza and pneumonia (4.9 percent), high blood pressure (4.1 percent), suicide (2.7 percent), and kidney disease (2.1 percent).
The infant mortality rate for 2008 was 6.59 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, a 2.4 percent decline from the 2007 rate of 6.77 and an all-time record low.