Mortality in the United States, 2014

December 9, 2015

A new NCHS report presents 2014 U.S. final mortality data on deaths and death rates by demographic and medical characteristics.

These data provide information on mortality patterns among U.S. residents by such variables as sex, race and ethnicity, and cause of death. Information on mortality patterns is key to understanding changes in the health and well-being of the U.S. population.

Life expectancy estimates, age-adjusted death rates by race and ethnicity and sex, the 10 leading causes of death, and the 10 leading causes of infant death were analyzed by comparing 2014 final data with 2013 final data.

Findings:

  • Life expectancy for the U.S. population in 2014 was unchanged from 2013 at 78.8 years.
  • The age-adjusted death rate decreased 1.0% to 724.6 deaths per 100,000 standard population in 2014 from 731.9 in 2013.
  • The 10 leading causes of death in 2014 remained the same as in 2013. Age-adjusted death rates significantly decreased for 5 leading causes and significantly increased for 4 leading causes.
  • The infant mortality rate decreased 2.3% to a historic low of 582.1 infant deaths per 100,000 live births. The 10 leading causes of infant death in 2014 remained the same as in 2013.

 


New Estimates of Death Rates for Seven Selected Causes of Death for the First Quarter of 2015

August 19, 2015

NCHS has started a new Vital Statistics Rapid Release (VSRR) program that provides access to the most timely vital statistics for public health surveillance, through 1) pilot releases of Quarterly Provisional Estimates and 2) Special Reports based on a current flow of vital statistics data from state vital records offices. Using the provisional data, NCHS is able to produce much more timely estimates of important health indicators for public health practitioners, researchers, and health policy-makers than would be possible using final annual data.

In this first pilot release of Quarterly Provisional Estimates, NCHS presents estimates of death rates for seven selected causes of death for 2013 and 2014 and the first quarter of 2015. This is the first public release of any mortality data for 2014 or 2015. The estimates are based on all death records received and processed by NCHS as of June 21, 2015, and will be updated each quarter as new provisional mortality data become available. The seven selected causes of death included in this pilot release are influenza and pneumonia, heart disease, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease, falls (for persons aged 65 and over), stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes. These causes have been selected based on their importance for public health surveillance and the feasibility of rapidly producing accurate estimates using the available provisional data. The causes are limited to seven in this first release to maximize timeliness.

Additional causes of death based on provisional mortality data, such as cancer, suicide, and drug poisoning-related deaths, may be added in upcoming quarterly releases after evaluation using the same criteria. Selected estimates based on provisional birth data will also be added in future releases after evaluation.

 


U.S. Mortality Trends Over the Past 113 Years

August 4, 2015

100+ years US mortality trendThis storyboard of U.S. mortality trends over the past 113 years highlights the differences in age-adjusted death rates and life expectancy at birth by race and sex; neonatal mortality and infant mortality rates by race; childhood mortality rates by age; and trends in age-adjusted death rates for five selected major causes of death.

Deaths in the United States, 1900-2013

Data Visualization Gallery


Differences in Stroke Mortality Among Adults Aged 45 and Over: United States, 2010–2013

July 8, 2015

Despite steady decreases in U.S. stroke mortality over the past several decades, stroke remained the fourth leading cause of death during 2010–2012 and the fifth leading cause in 2013.

Most studies have focused on the excess mortality experienced by black persons compared with white persons and by residents of the southeastern states, referred to as the Stroke Belt. Few stroke mortality studies have focused on Asian or Pacific Islander and Hispanic persons or have explored urban–rural differences.

A new NCHS report provides updated information about stroke mortality among U.S. residents aged 45 and over during 2010–2013 by age, race and ethnicity, income,  urban–rural residence, and residence inside or outside the Stroke Belt.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • During 2010–2013, the age-adjusted stroke death rate for non-Hispanic black men aged 45 and over (154.8 deaths per 100,000 population) was 54% to 68% higher than the rates for men of the same age in other race-ethnicity groups. The rate for non-Hispanic black women aged 45 and over was 30% to 61% higher than the rates for women of the same age in other race-ethnicity groups.
  • The age distribution of stroke deaths differed by race and ethnicity.
  • Stroke death rates were 32% higher in counties in the lowest median household income quartile than in counties in the highest income quartile.
  • Nonmetropolitan counties had higher stroke death rates than counties at other urbanization levels.
  • Stroke mortality inside and outside the Stroke Belt differed by race and ethnicity.

 


Mortality in the United States, 2013

January 5, 2015

NCHS released a report last week that presents 2013 U.S. final mortality data on deaths and death rates by demographic and medical characteristics. These data provide information on mortality patterns among U.S. residents by such variables as sex, race and ethnicity, and cause of death.

Information on mortality patterns is key to understanding changes in the health and well-being of the U.S. population. Life expectancy estimates, age-adjusted death rates by race and ethnicity and sex, 10 leading causes of death, and 10 leading causes of infant death were analyzed by comparing 2013 final data with 2012 final data. In 2013, a total of 2,596,993 resident deaths were registered in the United States.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • Life expectancy for the U.S. population in 2013 was unchanged from 2012 at 78.8 years.
  • The age-adjusted death rate of 731.9 per 100,000 standard population did not change significantly from 2012.
  • The 10 leading causes in 2013 remained the same as in 2012, although unintentional injuries became the fourth leading cause, while stroke became the fifth. Age-adjusted death rates significantly decreased for 4 leading causes and increased for 2.
  • The infant mortality rate in 2013 of 596.1 infant deaths per 100,000 live births did not change significantly from the rate in 2012. The 10 leading causes of infant death in 2013 remained the same as in 2012, although maternal complications became the third leading cause, while Sudden infant death syndrome became the fourth.

 


Trends in Fetal and Perinatal Mortality in the United States, 2006–2012

November 19, 2014

Changes in outcomes among live births were seen during 2006–2012. For example, the percentage of births delivered at 39 weeks of gestation or more rose and preterm birth and infant mortality rates declined. Limited recent data, however, have been available on fetal mortality. This information is essential for a more complete understanding of pregnancy health in the United States.

A new NCHS report focuses on fetal deaths (spontaneous intrauterine deaths) at 20 weeks of gestation or more, sometimes referred to as stillbirths, using recently released national data. Trends are examined for fetal mortality for 2000–2012, focusing on the period 2006–2012, and for perinatal mortality by race and Hispanic origin for 2006–2011 (the latest year available) and by state for combined years 2005–2006 and 2010–2011.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • Following declines from 2000 through 2006, total, early, and late fetal mortality rates were generally flat from 2006 through 2012.
  • Fetal mortality rates were essentially stable for non-Hispanic white (4.91 per 1,000 in 2012), non-Hispanic black (10.67), and Hispanic women (5.33) during 2006–2012.
  • The overall perinatal mortality rate declined 4% from 6.51 per 1,000 in 2006 to 6.26 in 2011, with an 8% decline for non-Hispanic black women (10.80 in 2011).
  • The perinatal mortality rate declined in 14 states, rose in 1 state, and was unchanged in 35 states and the District of Columbia between 2005–2006 and 2010–2011.

 


Deaths Attributed to Heat, Cold, and Other Weather Events in the United States, 2006-10

July 30, 2014

NCHS has just released a report, “Deaths Attributed to Heat, Cold, and Other Weather Events in the United States, 2006-10,” which provides an in-depth look at the approximately 10,000 weather related deaths that occurred in the U.S. over that five-year span. In particular, the report examined the following causes of death: exposure to excessive natural heat (including heat stroke, sun stroke, or all); exposure to excessive natural cold (including hypothermia); and deaths attributed to floods, storms, or lightning.

NCHS has tallied weather-related deaths for years, but because of changes in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) coding system over time, comparing past decades of weather-related deaths is difficult, if not impossible, particularly for deaths from excessive heat and cold.

DEATHS BY LIGHTNING ON THE DECLINE?

The CDC WONDER data base allows users to research these causes of death, in some cases going back to 1968. A look at the number of lightning deaths shows that from 1968 to 1978 there were 1,253 deaths from being struck by lightning – an annual average of about 114 deaths over that 11-year span. From 1979 to 1998, there were 1,589 lightning deaths, an annual average of about 79.5 deaths over that two-decade period. From 1999 to 2005, there were 365 lightning deaths, an annual average of a little over 52 deaths per year. The new 2006-2010 report shows 182 lightning deaths over that five-year span – an annual average of about 36.5 deaths per year. And 2011 data – the last year for available national data – show that 24 people were killed by lightning in the U.S. that year. So are lightning deaths on the decline in the U.S.? It would appear so.

Lightning deaths, which have had a single, independent ICD code for over the past four-plus decades, are the only of these weather-related deaths that are somewhat comparable.

STORMS & FLOODS – “CATACLYSMS”

From 1968 to 1978, the ICD-8 codes lumped both storms and floods together with other natural disasters like earthquakes and mudslides into one “Cataclysm” category. The ICD-9 codes (1979-1998) separated storms and floods from earthquakes, mudslides, etc. and during that 20-year period documented that storms and floods accounted for about 80% of all “cataclysm” deaths from (WONDER shows there were 2,196 deaths from storms and floods from 1979 to 1998 – an annual average of about 110 deaths per year). From 1968 to 1978, there were 2,683 deaths from all cataclysms – including any that were earthquakes, mudslides, etc.

From 1999 to 2005, there were 1,431 deaths from storms and floods, an annual average of over 204 deaths per year. However, 2005 was the year of Hurricane Katrina (and the less lethal but also devastating Hurricane Rita), which resulted in a spike in the number of these deaths. In the new 2006-2010 study, there were 464 deaths from storms and floods – an annual average of just under 93 deaths per year.

Comparing excessive heat and excessive cold-related deaths over the long term becomes virtually impossible using the WONDER data base, as prior to 1979 there was no distinction made between deaths from heat and cold that were weather-related vs. man-made.


National Birth Defects Prevention Month

January 9, 2014

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month.  Major birth defects are conditions present at birth that cause structural changes in one or more parts of the body. They can have a serious, adverse effect on health, development, or functional ability.

Birth defects – also known as congenital anomalies – are a leading cause of infant death that account for more than 1 of every 5 infant deaths.  On the topic of infant deaths, the infant mortality rate decreased 3.8% in 2010 from 2009, to a record low of just over 6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.  The neonatal mortality rate decreased 3.1% in 2010 from 2009, and the postneonatal mortality rate decreased 5.4% for the same period.  The infant mortality rate was 2.2 times greater for the black population than for the white population.

A few years back, NCHS posted a trends report entitled Spina Bifida and Anencephalus in the United States from 1991-2006.”  Spina bifida is a major birth defect of a person’s spine and Anencephaly is a serious birth defect in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull. In 1992, the U.S. Public Health Service recommended that women of childbearing age increase consumption of the vitamin folic acid after it was found that it could help prevent spina bifida and anencephalus. In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized that all enriched cereal grain products be fortified with folic acid. Using updated birth certificate data available for the U.S. since 1989, NCHS followed a 16-year trend from 1991 to 2006 for the two neural tube defects.

After a significant increase in the spina bifida rate from 1992 to 1995, a significant decline occurred from 1995 to 1999.  The rate continued to decline after 2000, and the 2006 rate was nearly the same as that in 2005 – the lowest ever reported

After a decline in the early part of the decade, the anencephalus rate was stable during the mid-1990s (1994–1997).  The rate was also stable, but generally lower than in earlier years, during 1998–2002 . The rate for 2003–2006 was higher than for the 1998–2002 period.

For more information on birth defects, please click here.

For more information on how folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects click here.


Declines in Infant Mortality

April 18, 2013

Infant mortality is an important indicator of the health of a nation.  A new NCHS report describes the recent decline in the U.S. infant mortality rate from 2005 through 2011. Changes in infant mortality rates over time are examined by age at death, maternal race and ethnicity, cause of death, and state.  In 2011, the U.S. infant mortality rate was 6.05 infant deaths per 1,000 live births (based on preliminary data), 12% lower than the rate of 6.87 in 2005, but not significantly lower than 6.15 in 2010.

Infant, neonatal, and postneonatal mortality rates: United States, 2000 and 2005–2011

Key findings from the report:

  • Following a plateau from 2000 through 2005, the U.S. infant mortality rate declined 12% from 2005 through 2011. Declines for neonatal and postneonatal mortality were similar.
  • From 2005 through 2011, infant mortality declined 16% for non-Hispanic black women and 12% for non-Hispanic white women.
  • Infant mortality declined for four of the five leading causes of death during the 2005–2011 period.
  • Infant mortality rates declined most rapidly among some, but not all, Southern states from 2005 through 2010. Despite these declines, states in the South still had among the highest rates in 2010. Rates were also high in 2010 in some states in the Midwest.