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Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2005 Mar 7;53(17):1-89.

Deaths: leading causes for 2002.

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  • 1U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Divison of Vital Statistics, Hyattsville, MD 20782, USA.



This report presents final 2002 data on the 10 leading causes of death in the United States by age, race, sex, and Hispanic origin. Leading causes of infant, neonatal, and postneonatal death are also presented. This report supplements the annual report of final mortality statistics.


Data in this report are based on information from all death certificates filed in the 50 States and the District of Columbia in 2002. Causes of death classified by the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) are ranked according to the number of deaths assigned to rankable causes.


In 2002, the 10 leading causes of death were (in rank order) Diseases of heart; Malignant neoplasms; Cerebrovascular diseases; Chronic lower respiratory diseases; Accidents (unintentional injuries); Diabetes mellitus; Influenza and pneumonia; Alzheimer's disease; Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis; and Septicemia and accounted for about 79 percent of all deaths occurring in the United States. Differences in the rankings are evident by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin. Leading causes of infant death for 2002 were (in rank order) Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities; Disorders related to short gestation and low birthweight, not elsewhere classified; Sudden infant death syndrome; Newborn affected by maternal complications of pregnancy; Newborn affected by complications of placenta, cord and membranes; Accidents (unintentional injuries); Respiratory distress of newborn; Bacterial sepsis of newborn; Diseases of the circulatory system; and Intrauterine hypoxia and birth asphyxia. Important variation in the leading causes of infant death is noted for the neonatal and postneonatal periods.

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