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Articles » Death » Deaths Overview

Deaths Overview

Death comes to us all at a rate a little less than 1% per year in the USA (0.877% or 1-in-114). For a US population of more than 270 million people, there are around 2.5 million deaths annually.

Death rates: Annual mortality rates vary with age and generally increase with age. However, death rate does decline after the first year, which is relatively risky for infants.

  • infant (<1 year including neonates) 0.706% (1-in-141)
  • infants (older than 28 days) 0.188% (1-in-531)
  • 1-4 years 0.034% (1 in 2,941)
  • 5-9 years 0.017% (1 in 5,882)
  • 10-14 years 0.021% (1 in 4,761)
  • 15-19 years 0.069% (1 in 1,449)
  • 20-24 years 0.093% (1 in 1,075)
  • 25-34 years 0.108% (1 in 925)
  • 35-44 years 0.199% (1 in 502)
  • 45-54 years 0.427% (1 in 234)
  • 55-64 years 1.021% (1 in 97)
  • 65-74 years 2.484% (1 in 40)
  • 75-84 years 5.751% (1 in 17) and
  • 85+ years %15.475% (1 in 6) [CDC NVSR 2001].

For more detailed information by age group see death information pages for newborn, infant, child, teen, 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 100's.

Top ten causes of death: Causes of death vary with age also. The overall top ten causes of death in the USA in 1999 were:

For more detailed information about top ten causes of death by age group, see death information pages for newborn, infant, child, teen, 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 100's.

Deaths by condition: Various information about deaths is available for each disease, from various sources. An approximate list of conditions sorted by deaths is available.

Deaths from medical errors: Medical errors are another leading cause of death that is not often analyzed. Bearing in mind that about 2.5 million deaths occur annually in the USA, here are some of the death rate estimates from various reports:

  • 44,000 to 98,000 deaths annually from medical errors (Institute of Medicine)
  • 225,000 deaths annually from medical errors including 106,000 deaths due to "nonerror adverse events of medications" (Starfield)
  • 180,000 deaths annually from medication errors and adverse reactions (Holland)
  • 20,000 annually to 88,000 deaths annually from nosocomial infections
  • 7,391 deaths resulted from medication errors (Institute of Medicine)

Although many such deaths are "non-error" adverse reactions, and hence non-preventable, the numbers of deaths are nevertheless high. Even the lower estimates of 44,000 to 98,000 deaths would put them into the top ten causes of death, and the highest number of 225,000 would put them third on the top ten list only after heart disease and cancer. For more details see medical mistakes introduction and rates of medical mistakes.

More articles on deaths:

Condition information about deaths:


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