Death Rates Up for 5 of the 12 Leading Causes of Death

41st Annual Report on the Health of the Nation includes data through 2016

Press Release

For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 20, 2018

Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics today released Health, United States, 2017  – the 41st annual health of the nation report from the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to the President and Congress.

Health, United States, 2017 includes an in-depth special feature that spotlights mortality in America. It examines when, why, and where individuals are dying in the United States. Causes of death and mortality’s impact on changes in life expectancy at birth are key focuses of the special feature. Data on life expectancy at birth are presented by sex, followed by data on death rates by age group.

Leading causes of death for each age group describe mortality trends from infancy to old age. The special feature closely examines three causes of death that have contributed to life expectancy drops in recent years – drug overdoses, suicides, and chronic liver disease. Health, United States, 2017 focuses on mortality because of the significant rise in deaths from these three causes.

Special Feature highlights:

  • Life expectancy at birth decreased for the first time since 1993 by 0.2 years between 2014 and 2015, and then decreased another 0.1 years between 2015 and 2016.
  • Between 2000 and 2016, death rates for five of the 12 leading causes of death increased: unintentional injuries, Alzheimer’s disease, suicide, chronic liver disease, and septicemia.
  • The age-adjusted death rate for drug overdose in the U.S. increased 72 percent between 2006 and 2016 to 19.8 deaths per 100,000 population in 2016.
  • Between 2006 and 2016, the age-adjusted suicide death rate increased 23 percent, from 11.0 to 13.5 deaths per 100,000 resident population
  • Among men ages 25–34, death rates for chronic liver disease and cirrhosis increased by an average of 7.9 percent per year during 2006–2016. Among women in the same age group, this increase averaged 11.4 percent per year.

In addition to the focus on mortality, the Health, United States, 2017 Chartbook examines 10-year trends in a broad range of health measures, including:

  • Between 2006 and 2016, the birth rate among teenagers ages 15–19 fell by half, from 41.1 to 20.3 live births per 1,000 females — a record low for the United States.
  • The percentage of high school students who smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days decreased from 15.8 percent in 2011 to 8.0 percent in 2016. High school students’ use of electronic cigarettes increased more than seven-fold, from 1.5 percent to 11.3 percent.
  • In 2016, personal health care expenditures in the U.S. totaled $2.8 trillion — a 4.4 percentage increase from 2015.

More information on these and over 100 additional health indicators can be found in the full report at

This year’s report features the all new Data Finder tool – allowing for quick and easy access to many statistical health measures for the U.S. population and sub-populations. While the Trend Tables and Chartbook Figures Index offer a useful method for locating data by topic, the new Data Finder is a companion research tool available right on the Health, United States, 2017 website to help users narrow down the list of tables and charts by health topic and populations of interest.

See this year’s new Data Finder at

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Page last reviewed: September 20, 2018