Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Longer Life in the USA

The National Center for Health Statistics reports that "the age-adjusted death rate reached a record low 801.0 per 100,000 U.S. standard population. This value is 3.8 percent lower than the 2003 rate of 832.7."

This decline in death rates was so big it offset the increase in population, so the number of total deaths actually dropped by about 50,000 to 2,398,343 in 2004 from 2,448,288 recorded for 2003. Declines are rare -- the last one was in 1997 -- and this one was huge -- the biggest decline in 6 decades.

The important thought to take away from this news is the fact that we're not reaching any limits on life expectancy -- the preliminary estimate of life expectancy at birth for the total population in 2004 rose again to reach a record high of 77.9 years -- even before we've started investing seriously in projuvenation technologies. Just imagine what we can do when we support research properly!

5 Comments:

Blogger John Fembup said...

HIV/AIDS is not listed in the top 15 causes of death. I suppose that may be because the death certificate actually reports something else--e.g., cancer or pneumonia. But that is only my guess. Anyone know for certain?

6:57 AM  
Blogger Karl Hallowell said...

The times I've looked, HIV hasn't made the top ten in general. It shows up in the young adult and middle age brackets though. But the death rates for these age brackets are low compared to overall death rates so the top causes of death are dominated by diseases associated with old age.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Patvann said...

I wonder what the numbers would look like if abortion was listed as an actual cause of death to a human.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Michael Castrillo said...

"HIV/AIDS is not listed in the top 15 causes of death"

That is because HIV isn't fatal, nor are any other retroviruses (as distinguished from viruses). AZT, the premier AIDS drug for many years, is fatal at virtually any dose. As use of this drug has declined, so has the deathrate.

1:25 PM  
Blogger mrsizer said...

patvann, I am philosophically opposed to abortion but as a practical matter (I'm also gay and male) I'm willing to leave it up to people with a bigger stake in the matter.

That said: Consider the fact that this increase might be BECAUSE of abortion: With fewer children, adults have more to invest in their own health. It might also be because of the increasingly secular nature of our society. Very few Americans are willing to put up with the old trope of "suffer now and be gloriously rewarded in the afterlife".

5:24 PM  

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