US Death Rate Falls for 10th Straight Year, Life Expectancy Moves Higher

Americans are living longer and age-related deaths dropped significantly in 2009.  That’s the news from the preliminary statistics for 2009 released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s National Center for Health Statistics.  The data shows that the age-adjusted death rate for the U.S. population fell to an all-time low of 741 deaths per 100,000 people in 2009 — 2.3 percent lower than the 2008 rate.  The data for life expectancy at birth increased to 78.2 years in 2009, up slightly from 78.0 years in 2008. Life expectancy was up two-tenths of a year for males (75.7 years) and up one-tenth of a year for females (80.6 years). Life expectancy for the U.S. white population increased by two-tenths of a year. Life expectancy for black males (70.9 years) and females (77.4 years) was unchanged in 2009.  The CDC’s statistics also showed age-adjusted death rates declined significantly for 10 of the 15 leading causes of death in 2009: heart disease (declined by 3.7 percent), cancer (1.1 percent), chronic lower respiratory diseases (4.1 percent), stroke (4.2 percent), accidents/unintentional injuries (4.1 percent), Alzheimer’s disease (4.1 percent), diabetes (4.1 percent), influenza and pneumonia (4.7 percent), septicemia (1.8 percent), and homicide (6.8 percent).

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