Share This Page

Deaths high, death rates low

| Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

NEW YORK — U.S. deaths surpassed 2.5 million for the first time last year, reflecting the nation's growing and aging population.

The increase of about 45,000 more deaths than in 2010 was not surprising. The annual number of deaths has been generally rising for decades as the population has swelled.

“If you have an older population, of course you have more deaths,” said Qian Cai, a University of Virginia demographer who studies population trends. “That doesn't mean the population is less healthy or less vital.”

Before last year, the largest number of deaths was 2.47 million in 2008. The number of deaths can jump up or down from year to year, depending on whether there was a bad flu season or other factors.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the report on Wednesday. It's drawn from a review of death certificates from last year.

The report found that the rate of deaths per 100,000 people dropped to an all-time low. That was offset by the fact that there are so many Americans — about 314 million.

Other report highlights:

• Life expectancy for a child born in 2011 was about 78 years and 8 months, the same as it was in 2010.

• Women aren't outliving men as much as they had been. The gap in life expectancy between the sexes, which was nearly 8 years at its widest in 1979, remained at less than 5 years in 2011.

• The infant mortality rate dropped again slightly, to a new low of 6.05 deaths per 1,000 births.

• Heart disease and cancer remain the top killers, accounting for nearly half the nation's deaths. But death rates from both continued to decline.

• Death rates fell for three other leading causes: stroke, Alzheimer's disease and kidney disease.

Also increasing were the death rates for diabetes, chronic lower respiratory diseases, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, Parkinson's disease and pneumonitis.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.