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U.S. Deaths Down Sharply in 2006

For Immediate Release: June 11, 2008


Contact: CDC National Center for Health Statistics
Office of Communication, (301) 458-4800



Age-adjusted death rates in the United States dropped significantly between 2005 and 2006 and life expectancy hit another record high, according to preliminary death statistics released today by CDC′s National Center for Health Statistics.

The 2006 age-adjusted death rate fell to 776.4 deaths per 100,000 population from 799 deaths per 100,000 in 2005, the CDC report said. In addition, death rates for eight of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States all dropped significantly in 2006, it said. These included a very sharp drop in mortality from influenza and pneumonia.

The preliminary infant mortality rate for 2006 was 6.7 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, a 2.3 percent decline from the 2005 rate of 6.9.

Other findings of the report:

  • Life expectancy at birth hit a record high in 2006 of 78.1 years, a 0.3 increase from 2005. Record high life expectancy was recorded for both white males and black males (76 years and 70 years respectively) as well as for white females and black females (81 years and 76.9 years).
  • The preliminary number of deaths in the United States in 2006 was 2,425,900, a 22,117 decrease from 2005.
  • Between 2005 and 2006, the largest decline in age-adjusted death rates occurred for influenza/pneumonia (12.8 percent). Other declines were observed for chronic lower respiratory diseases (6.5 percent), stroke (6.4 percent), heart disease (5.5 percent), diabetes (5.3 percent), hypertension (5 percent), chronic liver disease/cirrhosis (3.3 percent), suicide (2.8 percent), septicemia, also known as blood poisoning (2.7 percent), cancer (1.6 percent) and accidents (1.5 percent).
  • There were 12,045 deaths from HIV/AIDS in 2006, and age-adjusted death rates from the disease declined 4.8 percent from 2005.
  • Alzheimer′s disease overtook diabetes as the 6th leading cause of death in the United States in 2006. Preliminary data indicate 72,914 Americans died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2006.

The data are based on over 95 percent of death certificates collected in all 50 states and the District of Columbia as part of the National Vital Statistics System.

The report, “Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2006” is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs.

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