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April 19, 2006

Health: US death rate declines by largest amount in 70 years

The preliminary number of U.S. deaths recorded for 2004 was 2,398,343. That represents a decline of 49,945 from the 2,448,288 recorded in 2003. Normally this number goes up because of the increasing population.
Is this an aberration or is it because of improving medical technology? The government also said that U.S. life expectancy has inched up again to 77.9 years, a record high but still behind that of about two dozen other countries.

The government also reported that a baby born in 2004 could expect to live to nearly 78 — an increase of almost half a year from 2003. Women now have a life expectancy of 80.4, up from 80.1. Male life expectancy is 75.2, up from 74.8.

The life expectancy for whites — 78.3 — was up only slightly from the previous year. The increase for blacks was larger, with a rise from 72.7 to 73.3.

The government also reported that the infant mortality rate has dropped to 6.76 deaths per 1,000 births, down from 6.85 the year before. But a huge racial disparity persists. The rate for whites was 5.65 per 1,000 births, for blacks, 13.65.

The World Health Organization has its 2006 world health report which shows the basic health statistics for every country.

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