U.S. deaths ordinarily rise slightly each year. The last decline in annual deaths occurred in 1997, a modest drop of 445 deaths from 1996, Minino said.And yet we've gotten so fat! Or is that layer of blubber -- like the embrace of a loving grandmother -- cushioning us as we fall through life.
The number of deaths has not dropped this steeply since 1938, when there were about 69,000 fewer than in 1937. A drop in 1944 came close - about 48,000 fewer deaths than the previous year....
Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death, accounting for 27 percent of the nation's deaths in 2004. Cancer was second, at about 23 percent, and strokes were third, at 6 percent.
The good news: The age-adjusted death rate for all three killers dropped. The heart disease rate declined more than 6 percent, the cancer rate about 3 percent, and the stroke rate about 6.5 percent.
April 23, 2006
Did you notice the stunning drop in the death rate? The National Center for Health Statistics reports that there was a 2 percent decrease in the death rate in the United States last year. 50,000 fewer people died last year than the year before.