Life Expectancy in the United States Reaches All-Time High

CDC researchers say they're puzzled by one statistic.

Life expectancy for a child born in 2012 increased about six weeks from the life expectancy in 2010 and 2011, according to the CDC report, “Mortality in the United States, 2012.”

Women born in 2012 were expected to live more than 81 years and men nearly 76 ½ years, the CDC says.

“Life expectancy at birth represents the average number of years that a group of infants would live if the group was to experience throughout life the age-specific death rates present in the year of birth,” the report states.

Meanwhile, life expectancy for people age 65 in 2012 was more than 19 years, or about 20 ½ years for women and nearly 18 years for men.

From 2011 to 2012, age-adjusted death rates declined for eight of the 10 leading causes of death, with a 2.4 percent increase reported in suicide, according to the CDC report, the highest point for the suicide rate in 25 years.

That figure has been increasing since 2000 and "it's really hard to say why," said Robert Anderson, who oversees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention branch that issued the report today.

The infant mortality rate dropped again slightly, to a new low of 5.98 per 1,000 births. That's a historic low, but the U.S. infant mortality rate continues to be higher than in most European countries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.