U.S.: Life Expectancy, by year
YearLife expectancy,
in years
  • Region: United States
  • Time period: 1860 to 2020
  • Published: Aug 2019

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Mar 28, 2024 | Published by: Statistico

Increase in Life Expectancy from 1860 to 2020

Life expectancy in the United States has increased by 39.4 years, from 39.41 years in 1860 to 78.81 years in 2020.

Stagnation and Decrease in Recent Years

Life expectancy saw a slight decrease from 78.94 years in 2015 to 78.81 years in 2020, indicating stagnation or decline in recent years.

Significant Gains in the 20th Century

The 20th century witnessed substantial increases, with life expectancy rising from 47.3 years in 1900 to 76.47 years in 2000, an increase of nearly 29.17 years.

Impact of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

A notable decline in life expectancy occurred around the 1918 influenza pandemic, dropping from 54.14 years in 1915 to 53.22 years in 1920.

Early 20th Century Improvements

Between 1900 and 1925, life expectancy increased by 9.97 years, from 48.19 years to 58.16 years, reflecting improvements in public health and medical advances.

Stability in the Late 19th Century

Life expectancy was relatively stable in the late 19th century, with only a slight increase from 39.41 years in 1870 to 44.05 years in 1890.

Rapid Increases After 1945

Post-World War II era, from 1945 to 1970, saw life expectancy jump from 64.71 years to 70.36 years, a gain of 5.65 years.

Decadal Growth in Life Expectancy

Every decade from 1860 to 2020, except for the period around the 1918 pandemic and the recent stagnation, witnessed an increase in life expectancy, highlighting continuous health improvements over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much has the life expectancy in the United States increased from 1860 to 2020?

The life expectancy in the United States has increased by 39.4 years, from 39.41 years in 1860 to 78.81 years in 2020.

What increase in life expectancy was observed in the 20th century?

In the 20th century, life expectancy rose from 47.3 years in 1900 to 76.47 years in 2000, a gain of almost 29.17 years.

Terms and Definitions

Life expectancy is a statistical measurement that estimates the average number of years a person is expected to live, typically from the point of birth. It is dependent on a range of demographic factors including gender, race, and socioeconomic status, and is influenced by health conditions, lifestyle choices, and environmental circumstances.

The mortality rate is a measure of the frequency at which death occurs in a specific population during a specified time period. It is usually expressed as deaths per 1,000 or 100,000 individuals per year.

Demographics refer to selected population characteristics as used in government, marketing or opinion research, or the demographic profiles used in such research. These characteristics typically involve age, sex, marital status, race, education, income, and employment.

Chronic diseases are defined as health conditions or illnesses that are persistent or long-lasting in their effects, generally lasting more than one year, and require ongoing medical attention, and/or limit activities of daily living. Examples include heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, all of which can significantly impact life expectancy.

Lifestyle factors refer to the personal habits or behaviors related to the way individuals live. These can include diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption, and stress management. Lifestyle factors can significantly impact health and life expectancy.

Healthcare accessibility refers to the ease with which an individual can obtain needed medical services. This can be influenced by several factors, including geographic location, availability of health insurance, and affordability of out-of-pocket costs. Healthcare accessibility is a major determinant of health outcomes and life expectancy.

Health disparities refer to differences in the health status or distribution of health resources among different population groups, often based on demographic factors such as race, sex, income, or geographic location. These disparities can significantly influence life expectancy within these groups.
All statistics
All topics
Mortality refers to the number of deaths in a particular population over a certain period, often assessed to identify trends, health risks, and effectiveness of healthcare policies. Read more »
All locations
United States of America
Explore the comprehensive profile of the United States, a nation marked by its vast land area, diverse culture, and robust economy. Discover key statistics ranging from demographics to economic indicators, offering a glimpse into the American lifestyle. Read more »