QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Aged 45 Years or Older with Activity Limitations, by Age Group and Type of Limitation

August 26, 2016

The percentage of adults aged 45–64 years with limitations in activities of daily living (ADLs) increased from 1.3% in 2000 to 2.0% in 2015, and the percentage with limitations in instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) increased from 2.8% to 4.0%.

Among adults aged 65 years or older, the percentage with limitations in ADLs increased from 6.4% to 6.9%, and the percentage with limitations in IADLs decreased from 12.9% to 11.7%.

Fact or Fiction: Cancer now the leading cause of death in a majority of U.S. states?

August 25, 2016

Changes in the Leading Cause of Death: Recent Patterns in Heart Disease and Cancer Mortality

August 24, 2016

Questions for Melonie Heron, Demographer and Lead Author on “Changes in the Leading Cause of Death: Recent Patterns in Heart Disease and Cancer Mortality

Q: How have trends in deaths from heart disease and cancer changed since 1950?

MH: Since 1950, the number of heart disease deaths generally increased (by 43%) to a peak in 1985, declined (by 23%) from 1985 through 2011, then increased again (by 3%) from 2011 through 2014. In contrast, the number of cancer deaths nearly tripled from 1950 through 2014.

Q: Is it inevitable that cancer will ultimately pass heart disease as the leading cause of death in the U.S.?

MH: Because of the declining gap between heart disease and cancer deaths, it was expected that cancer would overtake heart disease as the leading cause of death in the U.S. in the early 2010s. However, the reversal in trend for heart disease deaths in 2012 changed that. It remains to be seen whether the uptick in heart disease deaths will be sustained.

Q: Where do heart disease and cancer rank as leading causes of death at the state level, and how has that changed over the years?

MH: Heart disease was the leading cause of death for all U.S. states, with cancer as the second leading cause. In 1990, Alaska became the first state to experience a switch in ranks between these two causes. In 2000, Minnesota experienced the same switch. As of 2014, there are now 22 states with cancer as the leading cause of death.

Q: How have heart disease and cancer changed as leading causes of death among different race/ethnic groups over time?

MH: For the non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black populations, heart disease has consistently been the leading-cause of death, with cancer as the second leading cause. That remained the case in 2014. However, for the non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander and Hispanic populations, cancer deaths have been increasing more than heart disease deaths. Cancer replaced heart disease as the leading cause of death for the non-Hispanic API population in 2000, and for the Hispanic population in 2009.

Q: What do you think is the most significant finding is in your new study?

MH: Despite a narrowing of the gap between heart disease and cancer deaths over time, especially since the 1980s, heart disease remained the leading cause of death for the total U.S. population and for the non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black populations in 2014. This was due, in large part, to a recent increase in heart disease deaths. However, in the non-Hispanic API and Hispanic populations, as well as in 22 states, the mortality burden of cancer has surpassed that of heart disease such that cancer is now the leading cause of death.

QuickStats: Birth Rates Among Teens Aged 15–19 Years, by Race/Hispanic Ethnicity — National Vital Statistics System, United States, 2007 and 2015

August 19, 2016

From 2007 to 2015, the birth rate for female teens aged 15–19 years declined 46%, from 41.5 to 22.3 births per 1,000, the lowest rate ever recorded for this population in the United States.

In 2015, rates declined to record lows for all racial/ethnic populations, with declines ranging from 41% for non-Hispanic white teens to 54% for Hispanic teens.

Despite the declines, teen birth rates by race/Hispanic ethnicity continued to reflect wide disparities, with rates ranging from 6.9 per 1,000 for Asian or Pacific Islander teens to 34.9 for Hispanic teens in 2015.

QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Death Rates for Males Aged 15–44 Years, by the Five Leading Causes of Death — United States, 1999 and 2014

August 12, 2016

The age-adjusted death rate for males aged 15–44 years was 10% lower in 2014 (156.6 per 100,000 population) than in 1999 (174.1).

Among the five leading causes of death, the age-adjusted rates for three were lower in 2014 than in 1999: cancer (from 17.1 to 12.8; 25% decline), heart disease (20.1 to 17.0; 15% decline), and homicide (15.7 to 13.8; 12% decline).

The age-adjusted death rates for two of the five causes were higher in 2014 than in 1999: suicide (20.1 to 22.5; 12% increase), and unintentional injuries (from 48.7 to 51.0; 5% increase).


Prepregnancy Body Mass Index by Maternal Characteristics and State: Data From the Birth Certificate, 2014

August 5, 2016

Prepregnancy Body Mass Index Infographic1A new NCHS report describes prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) among women giving birth in 2014 for the 47-state and District of Columbia reporting areas that implemented the 2003 U.S. Standard Certificate of Live Birth by January 1, 2014.


  • Among women giving birth in 2014, 3.8% were underweight (BMI is less than 18.5), 45.9% were of normal weight (BMI is 18.5–24.9), 25.6% were overweight (BMI is 25.0–29.9), and 24.8% were obese (BMI is greater than 29.9) before becoming pregnant.
  • The prevalence of overweight and obesity before pregnancy was lowest among women under age 20, non-Hispanic Asian women, women with at least a college degree, women giving birth for the first time, and women using self-payment for delivery.
  • Women with obesity before pregnancy were more likely to be older (aged 40–54), non-Hispanic black or non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaska Native, at least partially college educated, to have had three previous births or more, or using Medicaid for payment of delivery.
  • Prepregnancy obesity prevalence increased in 30 of the 37 reporting areas that adopted the 2003 certificate in 2011 and 2014.


Older Americans 2016: Key Indicators of Well-Being

August 2, 2016

Released today, the report, “Older Americans 2016: Key Indicators of Well-Being” takes a close look at older adults in the United States, as they live longer and face new economic, health care, and residential living challenges.

Older Americans are in better economic shape now than they were four decades ago. In 1974, the proportion of older people with income below the poverty threshold was 15 percent; in 2014, the percentage fell to 10 percent. In 2014, people in the high income group—those with incomes 400 percent or more of their poverty threshold—made up the largest share of older people by income category at 36 percent.
About 1.2 million people age 65 and over were residents of nursing homes in 2014. In the same year, nearly 780,000 of those age 65 and over lived in residential care communities such as assisted living facilities. In both of these settings, people age 85 and over represented the largest share by age group among residents.

Today’s report is the seventh prepared by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. Sixteen Federal agencies collaborate to monitor and report national-level statistics on the well-being of older Americans, making it easy for the public to understand key trends that affect the health and well-being of older Americans.

The 179-page report presents 41 indicators of well-being into six broad groups – population, economics, health status, health risks and behavior, health care, and environment. This year’s report also includes new indicators on social security beneficiaries, dementia, long-term care providers, and transportation. There is also a special feature on informal caregiving. “Informal caregivers” are family members or friends who are not paid and who assist older adults who have functional limitations with everyday tasks. Informal caregivers include spouses, children, other relatives, and friends.

Highlights of the Older Americans 2016 special feature include:

  • Although spouses represented 21 percent of informal caregivers, they provided more than 31 percent of the total hours of care.
  • Almost half of all caregivers assisted with self-care activities. A slightly larger proportion of women caregivers (52 percent) than male caregivers (46 percent) provided such care.
  • The vast majority of caregivers assisted with transportation, and there were no gender differences in providing this type of help.
  • About 86 percent reported that informal caregiving gives them satisfaction that the care recipient is well cared for.
  •  Caregivers also reported negative aspects of caregiving; almost half said they have more things than they can handle or don’t have time for themselves. Less than one in five caregivers reported that these negative impacts were a substantial problem.

Other highlights of Older Americans 2016 include:

  • Population – 46 million people age 65 and over lived in the United States in 2014, accounting for 15 percent of the total population. In 2030, the number and proportion of older Americans is expected to grow to 74 million, representing nearly 21 percent of the total U.S. population.
  • Economics – Overall between 1983 and 2013, the median net worth, in 2013 dollars (including the value of retirement investment accounts), of households headed by people age 65 and over rose from $116,500 to $210,500.
  • Health status – Many Americans enjoy longer lives, though with some functional limitations. Twenty-two percent of the population age 65 and over say they have at least one limitation in vision, hearing, mobility, communication, cognition, or self-care.
  • Health risks and behavior – A quality diet with healthy eating is important at all ages. Americans age 75 and over, met the dietary recommendations for whole fruits. Americans from the age groups 65 and over, 65-74, and 75 and over met the dietary recommendations for total protein foods.
  • Health care – In 2014, approximately 4.3 million veterans age 65 and over were enrolled with the Veterans Health Administration. Of those enrollees, 35 percent had been disabled by an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated by active military service.
  • Environment – Air quality is improving for seniors. The percentage of people age 65 and over living in counties that experienced poor air quality for any standard, decreased from 66 percent in 2000 to 16 percent in 2014; about 11 percent lived in counties with poor air quality for ozone, compared with 51 percent in 2000.

Older Americans 2016: Key Indicators of Well-Being and supporting data tables are available online at http://www.agingstats.gov and in limited quantities in print.

The Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics was established in 1986 to improve the quality and utility of Federal data on aging and to inform the public, policy makers, and researchers about these important trends. The 16 agencies represented in the Forum are listed at http://www.agingstats.gov.