CDC Issues Updated Mortality Reports, Finds Life Expectancy Declined in 2017

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) this week released three mortality reports, finding that life expectancy declined for the third consecutive year in 2017. Contributing to the declining life expectancy was an additional 70,000 deaths from overdoses and a 3.7 percent increase in the suicide rate. The three reports and selected key findings are detailed below:

Mortality in the United States, 2017

This report details the final 2017 U.S. mortality data on deaths and death rates by demographic and medical characteristics. In 2017, life expectancy for the U.S. population declined to 78.6 years. Other key findings include:

  • Age-specific death rates increased from 2016 to 2017 for age groups 25-34, 35-44, and 85 and over, and decreased for the age group 45-54
  • The 10 leading causes of death in 2017 remained the same as in 2016
  • The infant mortality rate of 579.3 infant deaths per 100,000 live births in 2017 was not significantly different from the 2016 rate

Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999-2017

This report finds deaths from drug overdose continue to be a public health burden in the United States. Using the most recent final mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), the report details updated trends in overdose deaths, demographic and geographic patterns, and shifts in types of drugs involved. Other key findings include:

  • The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths in 2017 (21.7 per 100,000) was 9.6 percent higher than the rate in 2016 (19.8)
  • Adults aged 25-34, 35-44, and 45-54 had higher rates of drug overdose deaths in 2017 than those aged 15-24, 55-64, and 65 and over
  • The age adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (drugs such as fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol) increased by 45 percent between 2016 and 2017, from 6.2 to 9.0 per 100,000

Suicide Mortality in the United States, 1999-2017

This report details updated trends in suicide mortality from 1999 to 2017 and describes differences by sex, age group, and urbanization level of the decedent’s county of residence. Suicide has ranked as the 10th leading cause of death for all ages in the United States, and suicide became the second leading cause of death for ages 10-34 and fourth leading cause for ages 35-54. Suicide rates have steadily increased in recent years in the U.S. Other key findings include:

  • From 1999 to 2017, the age-adjusted suicide rate increased 33 percent from 10.5 to 14.0 per 100,000
  • Suicide rates in 2017 were significantly higher for both males and females of all age groups compared with 1999
  • In 2017, the age-adjusted suicide rate for the most rural counties was nearly two times the rate for more urban counties