CDC: US Death Rates Rise for Many Leading Diseases

Megan Brooks

February 26, 2016

From October 2014 to September 2015, more Americans died than during the same period 1 year earlier, according to a preliminary analysis of death records.

The age-adjusted death rate in the United States for the 12-month period ending with the third quarter of 2015 was 731.4 deaths per 100,000 population, up from a rate of nearly 720 per 100,000 during the same period a year earlier, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

The findings are part of the Vital Statistics Rapid Release program, a quarterly release of data on various leading causes of death in the United States, the CDC says.

The preliminary analysis shows that age-adjusted death rates (per 100,000 population) were higher in 2014-2015 than during the same period 1 year earlier for many leading causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, liver disease/cirrhosis, and Parkinson's disease. For other causes, including cancer, diabetes, and HIV, death rates held steady or fell slightly.

Table. Age-Adjusted Death Rates (per 100,000) in 2015 vs 2014

Cause of Death

2015 vs 2014

Heart disease

168 vs 166.1


37.5 vs 35.9

Alzheimer's disease

28.9 vs 24.2

Liver disease/cirrhosis

10.6 vs 10.3

Chronic respiratory disease

41.6 vs 40.1


15.7 vs 14.9


8.4 vs 8.2

Kidney disease

13.4 vs 13.1

Parkinson's disease

7.7 vs 7.3


158.7 vs 161.2


21.2 vs 20.9


1.9 vs 2.0


The report also notes that the age-adjusted death rate for drug overdose for the 12-month period ending with the first quarter of 2015 was higher than for the comparable period in 2014 (14.8 vs 14.0 per 100,000 population). Also higher in the 2015 period than in the 2014 period were age-adjusted death rates for falls among the elderly (59.1 vs 56.8); deaths from homicides held steady (5.2 vs 5.1 per 100,000), as did deaths from firearm-related injury (10.6 vs 10.3).

The age-adjusted death for suicide was similar for 2015 and 2014 (13.2 vs 12.5); the rate for unintentional death was higher in 2015 than in 2014 (40.8 vs 39.6).

These provisional estimates are based on a snapshot of all the vital statistical data from the 50 states and the District of Columbia that were received and processed by the NCHS as of a specified cutoff date, the report notes.

NCHS. Published online February 24, 2016. Full text


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