How Will You Die? The Causes of Death in the U.S.
Death is the permanent cessation of all biological functions that sustain a particular living organism. It is estimated that of the roughly 150,000 people who die each day across the globe, about 2/3 or 100,000 per day die of age-related causes. Biological aging is by far the leading cause of death in the United States.
Life Expectancy in the U.S.
How long you live depends on your gender and geography. In the United States women live longer than men. As of May 2013, the average life expectancy of women is 81 years on average and men is 76. Even though on average women still live longer than men, over the last 15 years the gap has narrowed.
Geography also impacts the life expectancy of men and women in the United States. Coastal California and many of the Northern States have significantly higher life expectancies than many Southern States. There are many factors that contribute to these statistics, but lifestyle plays the largest role. California residents, on average, live a more active lifestyle, eat better, and smoke less than many other States.
Currently in the United States the death rate is 8.9 per every 1000 people. The death rate is projected to increase to 10.9 by 2040. With the continued improvements in health care, many people may wonder why the death rate has stopped decreasing and started to increase. The rise in death rate is due to an aging population in the United States. After the baby boom following World War II the birth rate began to decrease. Today, the aging population combined with decreased birth rate means that the death rate in the United States is increasing.
Leading Causes of Death in the U.S.
The leading causes of death in the United States has changed over time with death by infectious diseases such as influenza decreasing and degenerative diseases such as cancer and diabetes increasing.
Age has a significant impact on the cause of death in the United States. People over the age of 45 are more likely to die from cardiovascular diseases, malignant neoplasms (cancers) and diabetes. People over the age of 65 are more likely to die from chronic lower respiratory disease, influenza and pneumonia.
The causes of death for people under the age of 35 are far different. Younger people are more likely to die from motor vehicle accidents and firearms than older people.
Occupations with High Fatal Work Injury Rates
Your profession also impacts your life expectancy in the United States. As a percentage per 100,000 employees, in 2011 the jobs with the highest fatal injury rate are fishing workers and logging workers. Aircraft pilots, refuse collectors, roofers, and steel workers, also have a high fatal work injury rate when compared to other professions.
By far, the most fatal work injuries per year happen to truck drives, followed by farmers and ranchers. Even though more than 700 truckers die per year, the fatality rate is lower than many other professions because of the large number of people employed as truck drivers. You can see by the data above that the profession you choose can have a significant impact on your life expectancy.
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Updated: May 31, 2013