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What Was the Leading Cause of Death in 2015?

DEC 10, 2016 | KRISTI ROSA
The authors also reported that for eight of the 10 aforementioned causes of death, the age-adjusted death rates showed an increase and only one of the top 10 causes of death, cancer, experienced a decrease (1.7%) in these death rates. The authors wrote, “The rate increased 0.9% for heart disease, 2.7% for chronic lower respiratory diseases, 6.7% for unintentional injuries, 3.0% for stroke, 15.7% for Alzheimer’s disease, 1.9% for diabetes, 1.5% for kidney disease, and 2.3% for suicide. Influenza and pneumonia age-adjusted death rates did not experience any significant changes from 2014 to 2015."

A total of 23,455 deaths in 2015 were children under 1 year of age, a number that has increased since 2014, where 23,215 deaths had been reported. According to the authors, the infant mortality rate, or IMR—which they define as “the ratio of infant deaths to live births in a given year”—can serve as an indicator for the health of an entire population. They reported that the change in IMR is not “statistically significant;” however, the rates did rise from 2014 to 2015, going from 582.1 infant deaths per 100,000 live births in 2014, to 589.5 in 2015.

The NCHS reports congenital malformations, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome, maternal complications, unintentional injuries, cord and placental complications, bacterial sepsis of newborn, respiratory distress of newborn, diseases of the circulatory system, and neonatal hemorrhage, as the top 10 causes of infant death in 2015. As had been witnessed when looking at the top 10 leading causes of death in adults, the top causes for infants also remained the same from 2014 to 2015. However, the authors noted that two of the causes changed in rank with unintentional injuries experiencing a 11.3% increase since 2014, going from 29.1 infant deaths per 100,000 live births to 32.4. Other than this, the authors report that the other causes did not show significant changes from 2014 to 2015.
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