Fact or Fiction – The last time life expectancy in the U.S. declined for two years in a row was 1962 and 1963?December 21, 2017
A new NCHS report presents complete period life tables for the United States by race, Hispanic origin, and sex, based on age-specific death rates in 2013.
- In 2013, the overall expectation of life at birth was 78.8 years, unchanged from 2012.
- Between 2012 and 2013, life expectancy at birth remained the same for both males (76.4) and females (81.2), for the black population (75.5), the Hispanic population (81.9), and the non-Hispanic black population (75.1).
- Life expectancy at birth declined for both the white population (79.1 to 79.0) and the non-Hispanic white population (78.9 to 78.8).
QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Death Rates, by Race/Ethnicity — National Vital Statistics System, United States, 2014–2015April 10, 2017
From 2014 to 2015, the age-adjusted death rate for the total U.S. population increased 1.2% from 724.6 to 733.1 per 100,000 population.
The rate increased 0.6% from 870.7 to 876.1 for non-Hispanic blacks and 1.4% from 742.8 to 753.2 for non-Hispanic whites.
The rate for Hispanic persons did not change significantly.
The highest rate was recorded for the non-Hispanic black population, followed by the non-Hispanic white and Hispanic populations.
Questions for Jiaquan Xu, Epidemiologist and Lead Author on “Mortality in the United States, 2015.”
Q: Is it true that death rates in the U.S. have been increasing over the past few years?
JX: Not exactly. The age-adjusted death rate for total US population increased 1.2% from 724.6 per 100,000 standard population in 2014 to 733.1 in 2015. This was the first significant increase since 1999. We have seen the decrease in mortality for most race/ethnic groups in most of years since 2006. Especially the rates decreased significantly for all male, all female, non-Hispanic white male, non-Hispanic white female, non-Hispanic black male, non-Hispanic black female, Hispanic male, and Hispanic female in 2014 from 2013.
Q: What are some of the reasons why the death rate increased between 2014 and 2015?
JX: We don’t know exactly what caused the increase in mortality in the United States from 2014 to 2015. The results have shown that the age-adjusted death rates increased for 8 (heart disease, chronic lower respiratory, unintentional injuries, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and suicide) of the 10 leading causes of death. Only decrease in mortality among 10 leading causes of death in 2015 from 2014 was for cancer. Death rates increased significantly for 20 states and decreased for 1. The change for the rest of states were not significant.
Q: Do your findings for 2015 suggest we have reached a peak as far as increases in life expectancy goes?
JX: We don’t think we have reached a peak in life expectancy. Many people died of non-age-related causes because they have aged. Those deaths are preventable. For example, there are 146,571 deaths caused by accidents which accounted for 5.4% of total deaths in 2015. About 65% of deaths from these unintentional injuries were those aged under 65. Among accidental deaths, unintentional poisoning accounted for 32.4 % and motor vehicle traffic accidents accounted for 24.5%. We also don’t know if the increase in mortality in 2015 will continue in 2016. But preliminary data have shown that the mortality for most of the 10 leading causes of death in 2015 went down in second quarter from first quarter, 2016 (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/vsrr/mortality-dashboard.htm#trends). But it is too early to say that the mortality in 2016 will go down or continue going up. We will see what happens when the 2016 final file is available.
Q: What accounts for the decline in life expectancy at birth in 2015 from 2014?
JX: For the total US population, life expectancy decreased 0.1 year from 78.9 years in 2014 to 78.8 in 2015, mainly because of increases in mortality from the 13 causes of death among the 15 leading causes of death, such as heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, unintentional injuries, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, kidney disease, suicide, septicemia, , chronic liver disease, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease, and pneumonitis due to solids and liquids. From 2014 to 2015, life expectancy decreased 0.1 year for females largely because of increases in mortality from 12 of 15 leading causes of death such as heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, unintentional injuries, influenza and pneumonia, septicemia, hypertension, chronic liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, suicide, and pneumonitis due solids and liquids. The deaths from those 12 leading causes of death accounted for 52.9% of total female deaths.
Life expectancy declined 0.2 year for males largely because of increases in mortality from 11 of 15 leading causes of death such as unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, suicide, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic liver disease, septicemia, Parkinson’s disease, Homicide, and hypertension. And about 65% of accidental deaths were under 65 years old, while 81% of suicides were aged 15-64, and 95% of homicides were under 65 years. More young people dying from preventable causes drags life expectancy down.
Q: Is it unusual that mortality rates for so many leading causes of death increased in 2015?
JX: We haven’t seen the increase in mortality from so many leading causes of death for a long time. The age-adjusted death rates increased significantly for 3 of 10 leading causes of death in 2014, 2 in 2013, 1 in 2012, and 5 in 2011. It is an unusual year. Again we don’t know why.
Q: Does the increase in mortality among white females suggest another drop in life expectancy for that group?
JX: We don’t have life expectancy numbers for white females yet. It is possible that the life expectancy numbers in 2015 for white women will drop again in 2015 since the life expectancy decreased 0.1 year for all females in 2015 from 2014 and mortality from 12 of 15 leading causes of death for white females increased significantly in 2015 from 2014 (heart disease, chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, unintentional injuries, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, hypertension, chronic liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, suicide, pneumonitis due to solids and liquids).
The Effect of Changes in Selected Age-specific Causes of Death on Non-Hispanic White Life Expectancy Between 2000 and 2014June 3, 2016
Between 2000 and 2014, life expectancy at birth in the United States increased by 2 years. The non-Hispanic black population experienced the greatest gain, followed by the Hispanic population.
The non-Hispanic white population experienced the smallest gain. Changes in life expectancy over time are directly affected by increases and decreases in age-specific death rates and age-specific cause of death rates.
NCHS released a report this week describing the relationship between increases in all-cause age-specific and cause-specific death rates and the change in life expectancy for the non-Hispanic white population between 2000 and 2014 is explored.
- Between 2000 and 2014, life expectancy increased by 3.6, 2.6, and 1.4 years, respectively, for non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white persons.
- The 1.4-year increase in life expectancy for non-Hispanic white persons would have been greater if not for increases in death rates due to unintentional injuries, suicide, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic liver disease, and hypertension.
- Increases in death rates due to unintentional injuries, suicide, and chronic liver disease were large enough to increase all-cause non-Hispanic white death rates for ages 25–34, 35–44, and 45–54.
- Increases in death rates due to unintentional poisonings for ages 25–34, 35–44, and 45–54 had the greatest impact on the change in life expectancy for non-Hispanic white persons.
A new NCHS report presents changes in life expectancy by race, Hispanic origin, and sex in the United States between 2013 and 2014.
Life expectancy was estimated using complete period life tables that are based on death rates adjusted for race and Hispanic origin misclassification on death certificates.
Life expectancy represents the average number of years that a hypothetical group of infants would live at each attained age if the group was subject, throughout its lifetime, to the age-specific death rates prevailing for the actual population in a given year.
- Between 2013 and 2014, life expectancy at birth for the total U.S. population (78.8 years), males (76.4), or females (81.2) did not change.
- Life expectancy at birth increased by 0.4 years for non-Hispanic black males and by 0.1 years for Hispanic males. It remained unchanged for non-Hispanic white males.
- Life expectancy at birth increased by 0.2 years for Hispanic females, remained unchanged for non-Hispanic black females, and declined by 0.1 years for non-Hispanic white females.
- Hispanic males experienced the greatest increase in life expectancy at age 65 (0.3 years), followed by Hispanic females (0.2), and all other groups experienced a 0.1 year increase in life expectancy at age 65.