Mortality trends by race and ethnicity among adults aged 25 and over: United States, 2000–2017

Questions for Lead Author Sally Curtin, Health Statistician, of “Mortality trends by race and ethnicity among adults aged 25 and over: United States, 2000–2017.”

Q: What is different in this report from what you released in the 2017 final deaths report?

SC: The 2017 final death report shows death rates by race and ethnicity for 5- and 10-year age groups.  The difference is that we are using broad age groups to categorize adults and examining mortality trends:

  • Young adults 25-44
  • Middle-aged 45-64
  • Elderly 65+

Q: Why did you decide to focus on death rates by race and ethnicity for this report?

SC: Compared with death rates for non-Hispanic white (NHW) adults, traditionally rates for non-Hispanic black (NHB) have been the higher while rates for Hispanic have been lower.  We wanted to see if these differences were narrowing or widening.  We also wanted to examine whether trends were similar among the race/ethnicity groups for the three age groups of adults.

Q: How did the data vary by age groups?

SC: Trends differed by age group.  For NHW, NHB and Hispanic, all groups experienced increases over the period for young adults 25-44, NHW and NHB experienced increases for middle-aged adults 45-64, and all groups experienced declines in death rates for the elderly.

Q: Was there a specific finding in your report that surprised you?

SC: A couple of very interesting findings. First, all race/ethnicity groups are seeing increases in death rates for young adults aged 25-44, by 21% since 2012 for NHW and NHB.  Also, death rates for elderly adults ages 65+ are now higher for NHW than NHB.

Q: Why did the death rate decline for U.S. Hispanic adults?

SC: Some of the causes of death which have caused the rates to stop declining, or even to increase, among NHW and NHB have not affected Hispanic adults similarly.  For example, a recent report showed that heart disease death rates have been increasing among middle-aged NHW and NHB adults, but not for Hispanic adults.



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