Life Expectancy Increases in 2018 as Overdose Deaths Decline Along with Several Leading Causes of Death
For Immediate Release: January 30, 2020
Contact: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics, Office of Communication (301) 458-4800
Life expectancy in the United States increased in 2018 for the first time in four years, as deaths from drug overdoses declined for the first time in 28 years and death rates from 6 of the 10 leading causes of death also fell, according to final 2018 data released in a series of new reports by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
“Mortality in the United States: 2018pdf icon” features the first public release of final mortality data for 2018, and the report documents that the age-adjusted death rate for the entire U.S. population decreased by 1.1% from 731.9 deaths per 100,000 population in 2017 to 723.6 in 2018. The 10 leading causes of death in 2018 remained the same pdf iconfor the third year in a row. Death rates increased in 2018 for only 2 of the 10 leading causes of death (suicide and influenza/pneumonia).
As a result of this decline in overall mortality, life expectancy at birth for the U.S. population in 2018 increased 0.1 year from 2017 to 78.7 yearspdf icon. Life expectancy had declined in two of the past three years prior to 2018, and the 2018 estimate is still lower than the peak of 78.9 years in 2014pdf icon. Over half the increase in life expectancy in 2018 was due to declines in mortality from cancer and accidents/unintentional injuriespdf icon.
Drug overdoses account for over a third of all accidental deaths in the U.S. and a second report, “Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999-2018pdf icon,” reveals that the official number of drug overdose deaths among residents in the United States in 2018 was 67,367pdf icon, a 4% decline from 2017 (70,237 deaths). Nearly 9 in 10 overdose deaths were accidental/unintentional.
Other findings documented in the overdose report:
- The drug overdose death rate declined in 2018 in 14 states and the District of Columbiapdf icon. For the U.S. as a whole, the overdose death rate was 20.7 overdose deaths per 100,000 in 2018, lower than 21.7 in 2017.
- The rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (drugs such as fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol) pdf iconincreased by 10%, from 9.0 in 2017 to 9.9 in 2018.
- From 2012 to 2018, the rate of drug overdose deaths involving cocaine pdf iconmore than tripled (from 1.4 to 4.5) and the rate for deaths involving psychostimulants with abuse potential (drugs such as methamphetamine)pdf icon increased nearly 5-fold (from 0.8 to 3.9).
Also, NCHS published the first estimated maternal mortality rate for the U.S. since 2007 due to state-by-state revisions in reporting maternal deaths. In 2018, the national maternal mortality rate was an estimated 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, which is not significantly different than the last recorded national rate, after factoring in the changes in reporting (Visit this link for details about the new maternal mortality data and related reports).