QuickStats: Death Rates from Unintentional Falls Among Persons Aged ≥65 Years, by Age Group — National Vital Statistics System, United States, 1999–2020

September 23, 2022

During 1999–2020, death rates from unintentional falls among persons aged ≥65 years increased among all age groups.

The largest increase occurred among persons aged ≥85 years, from 110.2 per 100,000 population in 1999 to 291.5 in 2020. Among persons aged 75–84 years, the rate increased from 31.5 to 67.9, and among those aged 65–74 years, the rate increased from 9.0 to 18.2.

Throughout the period, rates were highest among persons aged ≥85 years, followed by rates among persons aged 75–84 years, and were lowest among persons aged 65–74 years.

Source: National Vital Statistics System, Mortality Data. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/deaths.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7138a4.htm


QuickStats: Percentage of Total Deaths, by Age and Hispanic Origin and Race — United States, 2020

September 16, 2022

Significant differences in the age distribution of deaths by race and ethnicity were observed in the United States during 2020.

Decedents aged <65 years accounted for 26% of all U.S. deaths, but they accounted for approximately 50% of deaths among American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (NH/OPI) persons, 40% of deaths among Black or African American (Black) and Hispanic or Latino (Hispanic) persons, and 20% of deaths among Asian and White persons.

Smaller differences were noted among persons aged 65–84 years. Among persons aged ≥85 years, the pattern was reversed, with the percentage of all deaths ranging from approximately 11% among AI/AN and NH/OPI persons to 33% for Asian and White persons.

Source: National Vital Statistics System, Underlying Cause of Death by Single-Race Categories, 2018–2020. https://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10-expanded.html

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7137a6.htm


Provisional Drug Overdose Deaths from 12 months ending in April 2022

September 14, 2022

New provisional data show that the number of drug overdose deaths occurring in the United States increased by almost 7% from the 12 months ending in April 2021 to the 12 months ending in April 2022, from 101,167 to 108,174.

The number of opioid-involved drug overdose deaths in the United States for the 12-month period ending in April 2022 (81,692) increased from 76,383 in the previous year.

The number of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids (excluding methadone; T40.4), psychostimulants with abuse potential (T43.6), and cocaine (T40.5) continued to increase compared to the previous year.


QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Suicide Rates, by Urbanization Level and Sex — National Vital Statistics System, 2020

September 9, 2022

In 2020, age-adjusted suicide rates among females increased as the level of urbanization declined, from 4.6 per 100,000 population in large central metropolitan areas to 7.1 in small metropolitan areas, but were similar for small metropolitan, micropolitan, and noncore areas.

Rates among males were lowest in large central areas (16.9) and increased as the level of urbanization declined to 33.7 in noncore areas. Males had higher death rates than females for each corresponding urbanization level.

Source: National Vital Statistics System, Mortality Data, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/deaths.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7136a4.htm


QuickStats: Percentage of Children and Adolescents Aged 6–17 Years Who Have Roads, Sidewalks, Paths, or Trails Where They Can Walk or Ride a Bicycle, by Urban-Rural Status and Family Income 

September 2, 2022

During 2020, 88.7% of children and adolescents aged 6–17 years had roads, sidewalks, paths, or trails in their neighborhood or near their home where they could walk or ride a bicycle.

Availability of these spaces was less common among children and adolescents who lived in families with incomes <200% of FPL (85.6%) than among those in families with incomes ≥200% of FPL (90.5%) and was consistent among children and adolescents in both urban (89.4% versus 93.9%) and rural (64.9% versus 77.4%) areas.

Regardless of income, availability of spaces to walk or ride a bicycle was lower among children and adolescents living in rural areas (73.4%) than among those in urban areas (92.1%).

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/index.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7135a5.htm


Life Expectancy: Historical Trends

September 1, 2022

There are a number of historical milestones associated with the recent study showing life expectancy declined for a second straight year in the United States. The 2019-2021 decline was the first time that life expectancy dropped two years in a row since 1961-1963, when John F. Kennedy was president.  The 2.7 year drop since 2019 was the largest two-year decline going back nearly a century, when life expectancy dropped 3.6 years from 1921 to 1923 (during the Warren Harding administration). 

Furthermore, the two-year decline in life expectancy from 2019-2021 was only the sixth time in recorded history that life expectancy dropped in consecutive years (1961-1963, 1924-1926, 1921-1923, 1915-1918, and 1902-1904).  The 1915-1918 decline was the only three-year decline in recorded history – life expectancy dropped a staggering 15.4 years during that period, culminating with an 11.8 year drop in 1918, the main year of the Spanish flu pandemic.  It’s worth noting that in 1919, the year after the worst of the pandemic, life expectancy increased a total of 15.6 years, wiping out that three-year decline from 1915 to 1918. 

Life expectancy for Americans in 2021 fell to the lowest level in a quarter of a century – 76.1 years, the same level it was in 1996.  For White people, life expectancy is at its lowest level since 1995 whereas for Black people it is at the lowest level since 1996.  And life expectancy for American Indian/Alaskan Native individuals fell 6.6 years from 71.8 years in 2019 to 65.2 in 2021 – which is equal to what total life expectancy was in the United States back in 1944.


PODCAST: Life Expectancy Fell in 2021 for the Second Year in a Row

August 31, 2022

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/podcasts/2022/20220831/20220831.htm

HOST: In 2020, the United States experienced the biggest one-year drop in life expectancy since World War II, mostly due to the pandemic.  All 50 states had declines in life expectancy that year.  These declines were detailed in a new report released in mid-August.  On the last day of the month, NCHS released new estimates for 2021, showing life expectancy dropped nearly one more year for the country from the 2020 level.

There were some significant differences between the declines that took place in 2020 and those which occurred in 2021, particularly among different race/ethnic groups.

We talked to NCHS Mortality Statistics Chief Robert Anderson about this and other matters related to the two new studies on life expectancy.

HOST:  So there are two new reports out this month on life expectancy – the first was a report on 2020 life expectancy by state.  First of all, how did the arrival of the pandemic impact life expectancy on the country as a whole in 2020?

ROBERT ANDERSON:  Well by the time we got to the end of 2020, life expectancy had dropped almost two years, it was like 1.8 years, and COVID was, you know, largely responsible for that decline.

HOST:  So what were some of the striking declines in life expectancy from 2019 to 2020 at the state level.

ROBERT ANDERSON:  Certainly there was some state variation in the change in life expectancy, but you know overall we saw declines for every state from 2019 to 2020.  Overall the change was I said almost two years, 1.8 years, a 1.8 year decline from 2019 to 2020 overall, but then if you look at the declines by state of course they vary from about a three-year decline to about a two-year decline. So it’s quite a bit of variation in the decline in life expectancy, although we did see declines for all states.

HOST:  So presumably, the states with the largest declines in life expectancy during 2020 were also the states that have the highest mortality from COVID?

ROBERT ANDERSON:  That’s essentially correct.  I mean it’s a little more complicated than that because there’s some other things going on.  We saw increases for some other causes of death and of course increases in drug overdose deaths also had an impact, but overall COVID-19 was the primary factor.

HOST:  And so I guess the converse would be true as well – states with the smallest declines in life expectancy in 2020 were those states that had lowest mortality from COVID – would that be correct?

ROBERT ANDERSON:  Yeah that’s essentially correct.

HOST:  Now are there any other interesting findings in the state life expectancy report?

ROBERT ANDERSON:  Yeah you know the declines, if you look at things on a regional basis you see larger declines in the South, Southwest and in the Northeast. Well, New York, New Jersey in particular.  And then you know a much smaller declines in the upper Northeast – you know, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont.  And in the Northwest – Washington, Oregon, Idaho, that area.  And of course that corresponds as we said with the level of COVID mortality in those states during 2020.

HOST:  So turning to the 2021 national report – did the decline in life expectancy continue in year two of the pandemic?

ROBERT ANDERSON:  It did… We saw an additional decline of nearly a year – 0.9 years overall – so yeah, we saw an additional decline in life expectancy.

HOST:  And so I guess this lines up with the fact that there were more COVID-19 deaths in 2021 than in 2020 right?

ROBERT ANDERSON:  That’s right, yeah that’s what we expected – because of the higher mortality in 2021 compared with 2020, we expected an additional decline in life expectancy.  And in fact that’s what we’re seeing.

HOST:  And what about the disparity between the sexes and life expectancy?  It’s always existed but it appears the pandemic has widened that gap.

ROBERT ANDERSON:   Yeah that’s right.  Typically, men have lower life expectancy than women and that’s because men have higher mortality than women overall.  And we do know that men were disproportionately affected by the pandemic – COVID-19 death rates were higher for men than for women – and so it’s not surprising that we would see a slightly larger disparity between males and females during the pandemic.

HOST:   So what race ethnic groups saw the biggest decline in life expectancy during 2021?

ROBERT ANDERSON:   From 2020 to 2021, the American Indian population really was most affected – there was a 1.9 year decline in life expectancy.  That’s followed by the non-Hispanic white population by about a year.  Then non-Hispanic black population about 7/10 of a year… and then the Hispanic population and the Asian population – the declines were much smaller during 2021. A 0.2 year decline for the Hispanic population, about a 0.1 year decline for the Asian population.

HOST:  Now over the span of the entire pandemic, what has been the cumulative impact on life expectancy among those race ethnic groups?

ROBERT ANDERSON:  Yeah I think that’s an important question.  Overall, the decline in life expectancy is about 2.7 years, a nearly three-year decline which is quite substantial.  And then quite a lot of variability by race and ethnicity.  For the American Indian population, the decline was 6.6 years from 2019 to 2021.  That’s just astounding.  For the Hispanic population it was a 4.2 year decline; for the black population about a four-year decline; for the white population, 2.4 years and for the Asian population 2.1 years.

HOST:  So it sounds like for the Hispanic population there is a lot more of an improvement I guess in 2021 is that correct?

ROBERT ANDERSON:  I’m not really sure I would say it was an improvement. The decline wasn’t as large in 2021 as it was in 2020, that’s true, but it did not improve – it continued to drop, just didn’t drop by as much.

HOST:  So besides COVID, were there any other leading causes of death that contributed to this decline in life expectancy?

ROBERT ANDERSON:  Yes – the main one is unintentional injuries, and this is mostly drug overdoses.  You know, there’s some other causes that’re grouped with unintentional injuries, includes motor vehicle accidents and falls and things like that.  But what really stands out in terms of sort of increasing mortality and which is responsible for the decline in life expectancy would be the drug overdose deaths so it’s second to COVID-19 in terms of its impac.

HOST:  And a lot of people would say that that increase in overdose deaths may or may not be indirectly tied to the pandemic stress right?

ROBERT ANDERSON:  Yeah it’s hard to say for sure exactly how it’s related or whether individual cases are related, but you know we were seeing sort of a flattening and even slightly declining drug overdose death rates just prior to the pandemic and of course a quite steep increase in drug overdose mortality during the pandemic.  So it’s hard to tie it directly because we started to see increases late in 2019 before the pandemic became, before it emerged, but then once it did, once the pandemic did emerge, then the increase in drug overdose mortality really went up quite steeply.

HOST: Any other points of either of these reports you like to make?

ROBERT ANDERSON:  Well I’ll just mention with the 2021 report, that the data are provisional still.  The data for 2021 probably won’t be final until December, that’s our target date for release of the 2021 final data.  So there could be some slight differences once we finalize the data, but at the point at which we cut the data to produce this report we had more than 99% of deaths so I don’t expect any substantial differences between this provisional report and what we will have based on our final data.

HOST:  Dr. Anderson thank you for joining us.

ROBERT ANDERSON: Thank you very much.

MUSIC BRIDGE:

HOST:  Overall, August was an extremely busy month at NCHS.  The month started off with a new report on physical therapy, speech therapy, and rehabilitative and occupational therapy among veterans compared with non-veterans, using data from the National Health Interview Survey.  The study showed that veterans are more than 50% likelier than non-veterans to have had any of these therapies.  The same week, NCHS released its latest annual report on fetal mortality in the United States for 2020.  A total of 20,854 fetal deaths at 20 weeks of pregnancy or longer were reported in 2020.

Another study, using NHIS data, looked at organized sports participation among U.S. children ages 6-17.  The study showed that over half of kids in this age group participate in organized sports.

On August 18th, NCHS released the latest monthly data on drug overdose deaths in the country, documenting that over 109,000 overdose deaths occurred in the United States during the one-year period ending in March 2022.

The official public use file for births in the United States for 2021 was released on August 29, accompanied by a Data Brief summarizing the key findings from these final data.  On the same day, the quarterly provisional release of infant mortality data was released in an interactive data visualization for the web, featuring full-year 2020 numbers. The post neonatal mortality rate in the U.S. increased in 2020 from the same point in 2019.  The post neonatal mortality rate is the number of deaths among infants between 28 and 364 days of age per 1,000 live births.

And last, a new report using data from the 2020 National Health Interview Survey shows that about one-quarter of adults in the United States age 18 and over have met the national physical activity guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.


Q&A: Physical Activity in Adults Aged 18 Years and Over: United States, 2020

August 30, 2022

Questions for Nazik Elgaddal, Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Physical Activity in Adults Aged 18 Years and Over: United States, 2020.”

Q: Why did you decide to do a report on physical activity among U.S. adults?

NE: Meeting the physical activity guidelines is one of the Healthy People 2030 leading health indicators.  Understanding who does and does not meet these guidelines is important for health care providers and policymakers.


Q: How did the data vary by gender, race, and income level?

NE: There are differences in who meets the guidelines by gender, race and Hispanic origin, and poverty level.  Men are more likely than women to meet both physical activity guidelines across all age groups. Hispanic men were less likely than other race and Hispanic origin groups among men to meet the guidelines, and non-Hispanic White women were more likely than other female groups. The percentage of people meeting the guidelines increased as family income levels increased.


Q: Do you have comparative trend data that goes further back than 2020?

NE: Starting in January 2019, a redesigned NHIS questionnaire with new content and structure was implemented. Physical activity questions are in the rotating core section every other year starting in 2020. Estimates for years prior to 2019 are available in Health, US https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/2019/025-508.pdf and Healthy People https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/data-search/Search-the-Data?nid=5072.


Q: How was this data collected?

NE: Data from the 2020 NHIS were used for this analysis. Interviews are typically conducted in respondents’ homes, but follow-ups to complete interviews may be conducted over the telephone. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, data collection procedures in 2020 were disrupted: From April through June 2020, all interviews were conducted by telephone only, and from July through December 2020, interviews were attempted by telephone first, with follow-ups to complete interviews by personal visit.


Q: What is the main takeaway message here?

NE: In 2020, only about one-quarter of adults fully met the Federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. 


QuickStats: Deaths Involving Exposure to Excessive Heat, by Sex — National Vital Statistics System, United States, 1999–2020

August 26, 2022

During 1999–2020, the annual number of deaths from excessive natural heat ranged from a low of 297 in 2004 to a high of 1,153 in 2020.

The number of deaths among males increased from 622 deaths in 1999 to 822 deaths in 2020, but there was no statistically significant increase among females.

During 1999–2020, there were generally twice as many deaths among males than among females each year.

Source: National Vital Statistics System, multiple cause of death data, 1999–2020. https://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd.html

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7134a5.htm


QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Aged ≥65 Years Who Drank Four or More Alcoholic Drinks Per Week, by Sex and Age — National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2020

August 19, 2022

In 2020, 18.3% of adults aged ≥65 years reported drinking four or more alcoholic drinks per week. Among adults aged ≥65 years, men were more likely (25.6%) than women (12.4%) to have four or more drinks.

Percentages of those having four or more drinks were higher among men than women for the following age groups: 65–74 years (27.7% versus 13.4%), 75–84 years (23.6% versus 12.1%) and ≥85 years (17.6% versus 8.1%).

Among both men and women, the percentage of adults aged ≥65 years who drank four or more alcoholic drinks per week decreased as age increased, from 20.0% for those aged 65–74 years to 11.8% for those aged ≥85 years.

Source: National Health Interview Survey, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7133a5.htm