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The U.S. Lags in Life Expectancy Gains

Life expectancy in the U.S. has been growing more slowly than in other developed countries and is now more than a year below the developed-country average, according to a new report (PDF) from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Even though Americans, on average, live to be almost 80, this is not good news. Life expectancy at birth is affected by trends in everything from infant mortality, accident rates, and violence to chronic diseases and care for the elderly, which makes it a highly sensitive indicator of a nation’s economic development.