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Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2004 Oct 12;53(5):1-115.

Deaths: final data for 2002.

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center For Health Statistics, Division of Vital Statistics, Hyattsville, Maryland 20782, USA.



This report presents final 2002 data on U.S. deaths and death rates according to demographic and medical characteristics such as age, sex, Hispanic origin, race, marital status, educational attainment, injury at work, State of residence, and cause of death. Trends and patterns in general mortality, life expectancy, and infant and maternal mortality are also described. A previous report presented preliminary mortality data for 2002.


In 2002 a total of 2,443,387 deaths were reported in the United States. This report presents descriptive tabulations of information reported on the death certificates. Funeral directors, attending physicians, medical examiners, and coroners complete death certificates. Original records are filed in the State registration offices. Statistical information is compiled into a national database through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Causes of death are processed in accordance with the International Classification of Diseases Tenth Revision (ICD-10).


The age-adjusted death rate for the United States in 2002 was 845.3 deaths per 100,000 standard population, representing a decrease of 1.1 percent from the 2001 rate and a record-low historical figure. Life expectancy at birth rose by 0.1-year to a record high of 77.3 years. Considering all deaths, age-specific death rates rose only for those under 1 year, and declined for a number of age groups including those 1-4 years, 25-34 years, 55-64 years, 65-74 years, 75-84 years, and 85 years and over. The 15 leading causes of death in 2002 remained the same as in 2001. Heart disease and cancer continued to be the leading and second leading causes of death, together accounting for over half of all deaths. The infant mortality rate in 2002 increased to 7.0 compared with a rate of 6.8 in 2001.


Generally, mortality patterns in 2002 were consistent with long-term trends. Life expectancy in 2002 increased again to a new record level. The age-adjusted death rate declined to a record low historical figure. However, the infant mortality rate increased in 2002. The infant mortality rate has either decreased or remained level each successive year through 2001 since 1958. Trends for homicide and injury at work were interrupted due to the terrorist deaths that occurred September 11, 2001. The homicide rate decreased significantly from 2001 to 2002 and dropped to the 14th leading cause of death. Deaths due to injury at work also declined significantly during this period.

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