Americans’ life expectancy has dropped for the first time since 1993, according to a new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The latter discovered that life expectancy for U.S. population in 2015 was 78.8 years compared to 78.9 years in 2014, meaning a decrease of 0.1 years.

Regarding deaths occurred in children under one year, there were 240 more infant deaths in 2015 than in 2014. The recent report presented 2015 U.S. final mortality data on deaths and death rates considering demographic and medical characteristics, compared to 2014 statistics. The report provides information on mortality patterns among U.S. citizens taking into account sex, race and ethnicity traits. It also showed information of the leading causes of death in America, both in adults and babies.

Elderly adults, exercise
Life expectancy is the average number of years that people in a nation are estimated to live. Image credit: National Sleep Foundation.

In 2014, American’s life expectancy was higher than it was in 2015, going from 78.9 years to 78.8 years. Men’s rates changed from 76.5 years in 2014 to 76.3 years in 2015. Women, on the other hand, went from 81.3 years in 2014 to 81.2 in 2015. But the trend remains: in 2015 people lived fewer years compared to the previous two decades.

In 2015, a total of 2,712,630 deaths were registered in the country. The data collected by NCHS in 2014 and 2015 include death certificates filed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The CDC calculated life expectancy as well as leading causes of death based on postcensal population estimates as of July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015.

The ten primary causes of death in the United States are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, unintentional injuries, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, kidney disease, influenza and pneumonia and suicide. Those conditions accounted for more than 74 percent of all deaths in the country in 2015.

Compared to 2014, death rates for heart disease increased 0.9 percent. The same happened for chronic lower respiratory disease, (2.7 percent), unintentional injuries (6.7 percent), stroke (3.0 percent), Alzheimer’s disease (15.7 percent), diabetes (1.9 percent), kidney disease (1.5 percent) and suicide (2.3 percent). Influenza and pneumonia rates did not change significantly.

The overall death rate in America increased because mortality from heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke and diabetes was higher after having declined in the past years. The epidemic of prescribed opioid painkillers and heroin could be behind the increase of unintentional injuries.

Baby deaths increased in 2015 although the CDC the numbers are not statistically important

The infant mortality rate is the number of infant deaths that occur for every 1,000 live births, as reported by the CDC. In 2015 the IMR changed to 589.5 infant deaths per 100,000 live births compared to 582.1 per 100,000 live births in 2014. The information showed a definite increase in baby deaths, but the CDC stated the data is not statistically significant.

Like adults, children also have a ten-leading-causes-of-death list, which accounted for 68.6 percent of all infant deaths in the U.S. The report found that the main causes of death in infants remained the same as in 2014, although sudden infant death syndrome and maternal complications exchanged positions.

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention