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The death rate in the United States decreased by 3.8% in 2004 and estimates of life expectancy at birth reached an all-time high of 77.9 years, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


The five leading causes of death in 2004 were heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and accidents. Alzheimer's disease moved into seventh place, passing influenza and pneumonia.


Life expectancy for women is now 80.4 years and for men, 75.2 years. The preliminary infant mortality for 2004 was 6.76 deaths per 1,000 live births. For more information, visit the CDC's Web site at

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