Background. The US Year 2000 mortality objectives are model standards cast as targeted changes in age-adjusted cause-specific death rates. This research centred on the projected impact of such changes on life expectancy and the mortality toll for each sex.Methods. A computer simulation was conducted using single decrement, multiple decrement and cause-elimination life table techniques, together with a decomposition procedure.Results. Male and female life expectancy at birth was projected to increase by 1.71 and 1.51 years, respectively, between the designated 1987 baseline and 2000. The leading beneficiaries would be those aged 65 and older, followed by those aged 45-64, and infants. Declines in coronary heart disease, stroke and injury death rates would most influence the projected life expectancy changes, irrespective of sex. Approximately 782 000 male deaths and 730 000 female deaths would be averted under Year 2000 assumptions.Conclusions. Life expectancy would be a useful summary measure to incorporate into official evaluations of the Year 2000 mortality objectives. Targeting of excess male mortality in the US and other highly industrialized nations is recommended.