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Americans Are Living Longer than Ever

American babies born in 2009 can expect to live until about 2087. Their life expectancy is record-high , according to the latest National Vital Statistics Report released Wednesday by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Average longevity is projected at 78.2 years, up from 78.0 for babies born in 2008. The average male born in 2009 will reach age 75.7, while the average female will live until age 80.6. White women will live slightly longer than black women, who'll live longer than white men, who'll out-live black men.

Surprisingly, considering the ever-growing obesity epidemic , death rates also fell to an all time low in 2009, to 741.0 deaths per 100,000 people. Heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases, accidents, Alzheimer's disease and homicide all declined since the previous year.

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Natalie Wolchover was a staff writer for Live Science from 2010 to 2012 and is currently a senior physics writer and editor for Quanta Magazine. She holds a bachelor's degree in physics from Tufts University and has studied physics at the University of California, Berkeley. Along with the staff of Quanta, Wolchover won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory writing for her work on the building of the James Webb Space Telescope. Her work has also appeared in the The Best American Science and Nature Writing and The Best Writing on Mathematics, Nature, The New Yorker and Popular Science. She was the 2016 winner of the  Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award, an annual prize for young science journalists, as well as the winner of the 2017 Science Communication Award for the American Institute of Physics.