Americans are living longer than ever as deaths linked to major illnesses continue to decline, according to a preliminary report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



The latest numbers show life expectancy increased 0.3 years, reaching a “record” 77.2 years in 2001, up from 77 in 2000. Life expectancy increased for men and women as well as blacks and whites, according to the report.



For men, life expectancy rose from 74.3 in 2000 to 74.4 years in 2001. Women’s life expectancy rose from 79.7 to 79.8 years. White women have the highest life expectancy, 80.2 years, followed by black women (75.5 years), white men (75 years) and black men (68.6 years). The report said all groups reached “record highs.”