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1995 Final Mortality Statistics Released

For Release: Thursday, June 12, 1997

Contact: Sandra Smith or Mary Jones (301) 458-4800

MVSR Vol. 45, No. 11(S)2. Report of Final Mortality Statistics, 1995. 80 pp. (PHS) 97-1120 [PDF - 987 KB]

Infant mortality reached a record low, and life expectancy returned to a record high level in 1995, according to a new report of the latest final mortality statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The comprehensive analysis of the patterns of mortality in the United States showed that the age-adjusted death rate reached an all-time low, due to decreases in mortality from heart disease, cancer, and homicide, but the year also saw increases in mortality from diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and stroke. Among the major findings:

  • Infant mortality - The 1995 infant mortality rate of 7.6 deaths per 1,000 live births was a record low, continuing the long downward trend. The death rate from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) was down 15 percent between 1994 and 1995. Since 1989 SIDS deaths have been on the decline.
  • Life expectancy - In 1995 life expectancy at birth was 75.8 years, equal to the record high in 1992. Women currently are expected to outlive men by an average of 6.4 years, and the difference between life expectancy for the white population (76.5 years) and the black population (69.6) remains at about 7 years.
  • Deaths and death rates - In 1995 a record 2,312,132 deaths were registered in the United States, 33,138 more than the previous high recorded in 1994. The crude death rate for 1995 was 880 deaths per 100,000 population, slightly higher than the year before. However, the 1995 age-adjusted death rate for the total population decreased to an all-time low of 503.9 per 100,000. The age-adjusted death rate is used to remove the effects of the aging of the population, for a better view of the underlying trends in mortality.
  • Death rates for children, teens, and young adults - Death rates decreased substantially for those under 5 years of age. For children aged 1-4 years, this was primarily due to decreases in mortality due to accidents. The death rate also declined for those aged 15-24 and 25-34 years, particularly for black males, and was due primarily to decreases in homicide.
  • Leading causes of death - Heart disease, cancer, and stroke continue as the three leading causes of death. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and accidents round out the top five causes. The only change in the ranking from 1994 to 1995 was a drop in homicide from 11th to 12th in the ranking. The death rate for homicide dropped 8.7 percent from 1994 to 1995, the largest decline in more than a decade.

The "Report of Final Mortality Statistics, 1995," by Robert N. Anderson, Kenneth Kochanek, and Sherry L. Murphy, Monthly Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 45, No. 11, Supplement 2, is based on information from all death certificates filed in State vital statistics offices in 1995. Death certificates are completed by funeral directors and by the attending physicians.