U.S. mortality rates have declined 27 percent over the last 75 years, according to a report released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. In 1935, the death rate per 100,000 people was 1,094.5; that rate declined steadily over time, falling to 798.7 deaths per 100,000 people in 2010. And the age-adjusted death rate, which takes into account a standard distribution for the age of the population over the course of the survey, declined 60 percent.


Among the other findings:

  • Children between the ages of 1 and 4 experienced the greatest reduction in mortality risk, which declined by 94 percent over the course of the survey to 26.6 deaths per 100,000 people by 2010.
  • Heart disease and cancer were the leading cause of death from 1935 to 2010. In 2010, those conditions combined to constitute 47 percent of all deaths.
  • Age-adjusted death rates declined by 56 percent for U.S. males and 62 percent for females from 1935-2010.
  • Racial and ethnic disparities in mortality have persisted over the course of the survey, peaking between 1988 and 1996. However, the risk of dying has decreased for all racial groups since 1935.

Click here to read a PDF version of the report.