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• There were 2,436,682 deaths in 2009, down from 2,473,018 U.S. deaths in 2008.

• Death rates fell significantly in most age ranges, reflecting higher survivability rates among infants, children, young adults and the elderly, the agency found. The only age range with a relatively unimproved death rate was for adults ages 55 to 64.

• U.S. life expectancy grew to a record high, from 78 years in 2008 to 78 years, two months in 2009. The gap between the sexes also persisted: Overall male life expectancy is roughly 75, while for females it’s about 80.

• The infant mortality rate hit a record low of 6.42 deaths per 1,000 live births, a drop of nearly 3 percent from 2008.