The U.S. age-adjusted death rate fell for the tenth consecutive year, to an all-time low of 741 deaths per 100,000 people in 2009, 2.3% lower than 2008, according to preliminary 2009 death statistics released by CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.
The findings come from "Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2009," which is based on death certificates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.
Life expectancy at birth increased to 78.2 years in 2009, up slightly from 78.0 years in 2008. Life expectancy was up two-tenths of a year for men (75.7 years) and up one-tenth of a year for women (80.6 years). Life expectancy for the U.S. white population increased by two-tenths of a year. Life expectancy for black men (70.9 years) and women (77.4 years) was unchanged in 2009. The gap in life expectancy between the white and black populations was 4.3 years in 2009, two-tenths of a year increase from the gap in 2008 of 4.1 years.
--The 15 leading causes of death are: diseases of heart, malignant neoplasms, chronic lower respiratory diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, accidents, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, nephritis, suicide, septicemia, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease, Parkinson’s disease, and homicide.
--Age-adjusted death rates declined significantly for 10 of the 15 leading causes of death in 2009: heart disease (by 3.7%), cancer (1.1%), chronic lower respiratory diseases (4.1%), stroke (4.2%), accidents (4.1%), Alzheimer's disease (4.1%), diabetes (4.1%), influenza and pneumonia (4.7%), septicemia (1.8%), and homicide (6.8%).
--Suicide passed septicemia to become the 10th leading cause of death. While suicides increased 1.7%, deaths from septicemia declined 1%.
--Overall, there were 2,436,682 deaths in the United States in 2009, 36,336 fewer than in 2008 (-1.5%).