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JAMA. 2015 Oct 27;314(16):1731-9. doi: 10.1001/jama.2015.12319.

Temporal Trends in Mortality in the United States, 1969-2013.

Author information

Surveillance and Health Services Research Program, Intramural Research Department, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Georgia.
Intramural Research Department, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Georgia.

Erratum in



A systematic and comprehensive evaluation of long-term trends in mortality is important for health planning and priority setting and for identifying modifiable factors that may contribute to the trends.


To examine temporal trends in deaths in the United States for all causes and for the 6 leading causes.


Joinpoint analysis of US national vital statistics data from 1969 through 2013.


Causes of death.


Total and annual percent change in age-standardized death rates and years of potential life lost before age 75 years for all causes combined and for heart disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke, unintentional injuries, and diabetes mellitus.


Between 1969 and 2013, the age-standardized death rate per 100,000 decreased from 1278.8 to 729.8 for all causes (42.9% reduction; 95% CI, 42.8%-43.0%), from 156.8 to 36.0 for stroke (77.0% reduction; 95% CI, 76.9%-77.2%), from 520.4 to 169.1 for heart disease (67.5% reduction; 95% CI, 67.4%-67.6%), from 65.1 to 39.2 for unintentional injuries (39.8% reduction; 95% CI, 39.3%-40.3%), from 198.6 to 163.1 for cancer (17.9% reduction; 95% CI, 17.5%-18.2%), and from 25.3 to 21.1 for diabetes (16.5% reduction; 95% CI, 15.4%-17.5%). In contrast, the rate for COPD increased from 21.0 to 42.2 (100.6% increase; 95% CI, 98.2%-103.1%). However, during the last time segment detected by joinpoint analysis, death rate for COPD in men began to decrease and the declines in rates slowed for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. For example, the annual decline for heart disease slowed from 3.9% (95% CI, 3.5%-4.2%) during the 2000-2010 period to 1.4% (95% CI, -3.4% to 0.6%) during the 2010-2013 period (Pā€‰=ā€‰.02 for slope difference). Between 1969 and 2013, age-standardized years of potential life lost per 1000 decreased from 1.9 to 1.6 for diabetes (14.5% reduction; 95% CI, 12.6%-16.4%), from 21.4 to 12.7 for cancer (40.6%; 95% CI, 40.2%-41.1%), from 19.9 to 10.4 for unintentional injuries (47.5%; 95% CI, 47.0%-48.0%), from 28.8 to 9.1 for heart disease (68.3%; 95% CI, 68.1%-68.5%), and from 6.0 to 1.5 for stroke (74.8%; 95% CI, 74.4%-75.3%). For COPD, the rate for years of potential life lost did not decrease over this time interval.


According to death certificate data between 1969 and 2013, an overall decreasing trend in age-standardized death rate was observed for all causes combined, heart disease, cancer, stroke, unintentional injuries, and diabetes, although the rate of decrease appears to have slowed for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The death rate for COPD increased during this period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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