US Death Rate Falls for 10th Straight Year

said the US Centers for Disease Control on March 16.   The detail:

“The age-adjusted death rate for the U.S. population fell to an all-time low of 741 deaths per 100,000 people in 2009 — 2.3 percent lower than the 2008 rate.”

Age-adjusted means the calculation takes into account changes in the age distribution of the population; or the population pyramid in other words.

The linked report details that improvement was particularly significant for the elderly:

55-64 years (0.9 percent decrease)
65-74 years (3.4 percent decrease)

There are many factors that influence these results, but the long term trend of decreasing death rate suggests that both health habits and health care effectiveness have been improving.  A report from the AP states that:

“Pneumonia is a flu complication most often seen in the elderly, and is a main reason why the overwhelming majority of flu-related deaths most years occur in the elderly. But while swine flu hit young adults and kids unusually hard, it caused relatively mild illness for people 55 and older.

“The irony is there were less deaths because the elderly were spared in this pandemic,” said Dr. Keith Klugman, a professor of global health at Atlanta’s Emory University.”

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