Death Rate Up, Life Expectancy Down

With death rate up, U.S. life expectancy is likely down again

(Associated Press) The U.S. death rate rose last year, and 2017 will likely be the third straight year of decline in American life expectancy, according to preliminary data.

Death rates rose for Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, flu and pneumonia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Full-year data is not yet available for drug overdoses, suicides or firearm deaths. But partial-year statistics in those categories showed continuing increases.

Just as important, there was little change in the death rate from the nation’s No. 1 killer: heart disease.

A more complete report is expected around the end of the year, including the number of deaths and a calculation of life expectancy.

For decades, life expectancy increased, rising a few months nearly every year. But 2016 was the second year in a row in U.S. life expectancy fell, a rare event that had occurred only twice before in the last century.

Health officials say there was one three-year decline. That occurred in 1916, 1917 and 1918, a period that included the worst flu pandemic in modern history.

There was some good news. The death rate for cancer, the nation’s No. 2 killer, continued to drop. It fell 2 percent from 2016. Death rates from HIV and blood infections also declined. Read the full story at NBC News. 

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