U.S. Death Rates Higher, According to Early Preliminary Data

February 24, 2016

An early analysis of death records from October 2014 thru September 2015 suggests that death rates in the U.S. are higher than they were at the same point in 2014.

NCHS found that the age-adjusted death rate in the U.S. for the 12 month period ending with the third quarter of 2015 was 731.4 deaths per 100,000 population, compared to a rate of nearly 720 per 100,000 during the same period a year earlier.

The findings are part of the “Vital Statistics Rapid Release Program,” a web-based quarterly release of data on various leading causes of death in the U.S. This preliminary analysis by NCHS shows that mortality rates were higher from October 2014-September 2015 compared to the same period the year before for many leading causes of death, including:

  • Heart Disease (168 deaths/100,000 for 12 months ending in the third quarter 2015 vs. approximately 166/100,000 in 2014)
  • Stroke (37.5 in 2015 vs. 35.9 in 2014)
  • Alzheimer’s disease (28.9 in 2015 vs. 24.2 in 2014)
  • Chronic Liver Disease/Cirrhosis (10.6 in 2015 vs. 10.3 in 2014)
  • Parkinson’s Disease (7.7 in 2015 vs. 7.3 in 2014)

Mortality rates remained the same or were lower in the 12 months ending with the third quarter of 2015 for a few causes of death:

  • Cancer (158.7 deaths/per 100,000 12 months ending in the third quarter 2015 vs. 161.2/100,000 in 2014)
  • Diabetes (21.2 in 2015 vs. 20.9 in 2014)
  • HIV (1.9 in 2015 vs. 2.0 in 2014)

The entire findings can be viewed at http://www.cdc.gov/pressroom/VSS_RR_216.pdf and will be available upon release at the following address: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/vsrr/mortality-dashboard.htm.

These provisional estimates are based on all complete death records received and processed by NCHS as of a specified cutoff date. National provisional estimates include events occurring only within the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

NCHS receives the death records and monthly provisional occurrence counts from state vital registration systems through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. A complete death record includes both demographic and medical information.

Reasons for Emergency Room Use Among U.S. Adults Aged 18–64: National Health Interview Survey, 2013 and 2014

February 18, 2016

A new NCHS report examines the percentage of adults aged 18–64 who had an emergency room (ER) visit and their reasons for the most recent visit.


  • In 2014, 18% of adults visited the ER one or more times.
  • Seriousness of the medical problem was the reason for the most recent ER visit for 77% of adults aged 18–64, 12% because their doctor’s office was not open, and 7% because of a lack of access to other providers (4% did not select any reason). Percentages were similar in 2013.
  • Controlling for other variables, adults with Medicaid were most likely to report that seriousness of the medical problem was the reason for the most recent ER visit.
  • Adults with private coverage were most likely to have used the ER because the doctor’s office was not open.
  • Uninsured adults were more likely than adults with private coverage to have visited the ER because they lacked access to other providers. Differences in reasons for use between demographic groups were also identified.

New Health, United States Spotlight Infographics

February 17, 2016

HUSSpotlight_Winter16_PostageHealth, United States Spotlights are infographics of selected health data available in Health, United States, the annual report on the health of the nation submitted by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to the President and Congress.

Each Spotlight displays approximately four health indicators allowing users to visualize and interpret complex information from different data systems and Health, United States subject areas. Multiple infographics will be released throughout the year to spotlight important and relevant health data from Health, United States.

The full Health, United States reports are available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/hus.htm

Smoking Prevalence and Cessation Before and During Pregnancy

February 10, 2016


A new NCHS report presents findings on maternal smoking prevalence and cessation before and during pregnancy as collected on the 2003 U.S. Standard Certificate of Live Birth, for a 46-state and District of Columbia reporting area, representing 95% of all births in the United States.


  • About 1 in 10 women who gave birth in 2014 smoked during the 3 months before pregnancy (10.9%), and about one-quarter of these women (24.2%) did not smoke during pregnancy (i.e., quit before pregnancy).
  • The smoking rate at any time during pregnancy was 8.4%, with 20.6% of women who smoked in the first or second trimesters quitting by the third trimester.
  • Smoking during pregnancy was more prevalent for women aged 20–24 (13.0%) than for other ages, and by race and Hispanic origin, the highest rate was for non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native women (18%).

Three Largest Causes of Injury Death and Life Expectancy Between the United States and 12 Countries

February 10, 2016

Yesterday the Journal of the American Medical Association published a research letter entitled Major Causes of Injury Death and the Life Expectancy Gap Between the United States and Other High-Income Countries. From the JAMA:

The United States experiences lower life expectancy at birth than many other high-income countries. Although research has focused on mortality of the population older than 50 years, much of this life expectancy gap reflects mortality at younger ages, when mortality is dominated by injury deaths, and many decades of expected life are lost. This study estimated the contribution of 3 causes of injury death to the gap in life expectancy at birth between the United States and 12 comparable countries in 2012. We focused on motor vehicle traffic crashes, firearm-related injuries, and drug poisonings, the 3 largest causes of US injury death responsible for more than 100 000 deaths per year.


In 2012, the all-cause, age-adjusted death rate per 100 000 population was 865.1 among US men vs 772.0 among men in the comparison countries, and 624.7 among US women and 494.3 among women in the comparison countries. Men in the comparison countries had a life expectancy advantage of 2.2 years over US men (78.6 years vs 76.4 years), as did women (83.4 years vs 81.2 years). The injury causes of death accounted for 48% (1.02 years) of the life expectancy gap among men. Firearm-related injuries accounted for 21% of the gap, drug poisonings 14%, and MVT crashes 13%. Among women, these causes accounted for 19% (0.42 years) of the gap, with 4% from firearm-related injuries, 9% from drug poisonings, and 6% from MVT crashes. The 3 injury causes accounted for 6% of deaths among US men and 3% among US women.



Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January–September 2015

February 10, 2016

A new NCHS report presents selected estimates of health insurance coverage for the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population based on data from the January–September 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), along with comparable estimates from the 2010–2014 NHIS.

Estimates for 2015 are based on data for 79,847 persons.


  • The number of uninsured persons has declined in the past 2 years. In the first 9 months of 2015, 28.8 million persons of all ages (9.1%) were uninsured at the time of interview—7.2 million fewer persons than in 2014 and 16.0 million fewer than in 2013.
  • Among adults aged 18–64, the percentage uninsured decreased from 16.3% in 2014 to 12.9% in the first 9 months of 2015. A corresponding increase was seen in the percentage with private coverage, from 67.3% to 70.0%, respectively. In 2013, among adults aged 18–64, 20.4% were uninsured and 64.2% had private coverage.
  • Among children under age 18 years, the percentage with private coverage increased from 52.6% in 2013 to 55.1% in the first 9 months of 2015.
  • Among those under age 65, the percentage with private coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace or state-based exchanges increased from 2.5% (6.7 million) in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 4.2% (11.3 million) in the third quarter of 2015 (July–September).