U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

Function Navigation

Bookmark and Share

Life Expectancy

The overall life expectancy of a baby born in 2007 was 77.9 years (data not shown); this varied, however, by sex and race. A baby girl born in the United States in 2007 could expect to live 80.4 years, 5.0 years longer than a male baby, whose life expectancy would be 75.4 years (data not shown). The differential between male and female life expectancy was greater among Blacks than Whites. Black males born in 2007 could expect to live 70.0 years, 6.8 years fewer than Black females (76.8 years). The difference between White males and females was 4.9 years, with life expectancies at birth of 75.9 and 80.8 years, respectively. White females could expect to live 4.0 years longer than Black females. The lower life expectancy among Blacks may be partly accounted for by higher infant mortality rates, as well as higher mortality rates throughout the lifespan.1

Life expectancy has increased since 1970 for males and females in both racial groups. Between 1970 and 2007, White males’ life expectancy increased from 68.0 to 75.9 years (11.6 percent), while White females’ life expectancy increased from 75.6 to 80.8 years (6.9 percent). During the same period, the life expectancy for Black males increased from 60.0 to 70.0 years (16.7 percent), while life expectancy increased from 68.3 to 76.8 years (12.4 percent) for Black females.

While life expectancy estimates have not historically been calculated and reported for the Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native populations, the U.S. Census Bureau has calculated projected life expectancies for these groups. An American Indian/Alaska Native female born in 2010 is expected to live 81.5 years, while a male is expected to live 76.6 years. Among Hispanics born in 2010, females are expected to have a life expectancy of 83.7 years and males 78.4 years. Asian females born in that year are expected to live 81.1 years, while life expectancy for Asian males is 76.3 years. In comparison, non-Hispanic White females and males born in 2010 are projected to live 81.1 and 76.3 years, respectively (data not shown).2

1 Heron MP, Hoyert DL, Murphy SL, Xu JQ, Kochanek KD, Tejada-Vera B.  Deaths: Final data for 2006.  National vital statistics reports; vol 57 no 14. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.  2009.
2 U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division.  Table 10. Projected Life Expectancy at Birth by Sex, Race, and Hsipanic Origin for the United States: 2010 to 2050 (NP2008-T10).  [online] August 14, 2008.  www.census.gov, accessed 12/04/09.

Back to Top