Life expectancy rises as overdose deaths decline

For the first time in four years, U.S. life expectancy rose in 2018, according to new data from the CDC.

In 2018, the life expectancy for the U.S. populations was 78.7 years, up 0.1 year from the previous year.

The decline is due in part to fewer deaths associated with opioid drug overdoses as well as cancer-related deaths. Life expectancy in the U.S. was on the rise for years before it declined as a result of higher opioid deaths. In 2018, drug opioid deaths dropped to 68,000, according to CDC data from last year. The drop indicates that efforts to improve the national opioid abuse and overdose epidemic may be working.

In addition, cancer death rates recently dropped to their lowest levels since the 1990s, with big declines in lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers. Cancer still remained the second-highest cause of cancer, following heart disease. Notably, suicide death rates increased slightly from 2017.