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CDCís National Center for Health Statistics is issuing a new Health E-Stat today, "Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2004."


The summary, which will be followed by a more comprehensive report to be released in May, is based on approximately 90 percent of death records reported in all 50 states for 2004, and shows an increase in life expectancy and a narrowing of the gender gap.

Highlights of the report include:

* The life expectancy of Americans in 2004 - 77.9 years - is the highest it has ever been.

* The life expectancy for women in the United States is 80.4 years; the life expectancy for U.S. men is 75.2 years.

* The life expectancy gender gap is narrowing - the 5.2 year difference in 2004 was the smallest difference since 1946.

* Alzheimerís disease moved into 7th place among leading killers in the United States, passing influenza and pneumonia.

* Age-adjusted death rates fell to a record low of 801 deaths per 100,000 population in 2004, down from almost 833 deaths per 100,000 in 2003.

* Total deaths (nearly 2.4 million in 2004) declined almost 50,000 between 2003 and 2004, the biggest one year drop in several decades.

The report can be accessed at the CDC/NCHS web site at


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