Infant mortality dropped to a record low in the United States in 2014, and mortality rates for several leading causes of death among adults have decreased as well, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The infant mortality rate dropped from 596 infant deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013 to 581 infant deaths per 100,000 live births in 2014 — a rate that's a "historic low," the researchers wrote in their report, published today (Dec. 9).
When the researchers looked more closely at this drop, analyzing the rates of the 10 leading causes of infant death, they found that the rates remained largely the same from 2013 to 2014. The only significant change was in the rate of deaths from respiratory distress in newborns, which dropped from 13.3 deaths per 100,000 live births to 11.5 infant deaths per 100,000 births, according to the authors of the report. [Infographic: Global Life Expectancy]
There was also a slight decrease in the rate of death among adults, which dropped from 731.9 deaths per 100,000 people in 2013 to 724.6 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014, according to the report. This rate also represents a new record low, the researchers wrote.
The rates of death decreased significantly for five of the 10 leading causes of death among adults: heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, diabetes, and influenza and pneumonia (these two conditions are grouped together). On the other hand, the rates of death increased significantly for unintentional injuries, stroke, Alzheimer's disease and suicide. There was no change in the rate of death from kidney disease.
Among the 10 leading causes of death, the death rate from Alzheimer's disease saw the greatest change from 2013 to 2014. Alzheimer's disease was the cause of 25.4 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014, up from 23.5 deaths per 100,000 people in 2013 — an increase of 8.1 percent, according to the report. In the previous year, the death rate for Alzheimer's disease had decreased slightly.
Despite the record-low overall death rate, Americans aren't necessarily living longer.
From 2013 to 2014, life expectancy remained unchanged at 78.8 years, according to the report. Life expectancy first reached 78.8 years in 2012 — a record high.
Life expectancy for males and females separately also did not change from 2013. In 2014, the life expectancy for males was 74.6 years, and the life expectancy for females was 81.2 years, according to the report.