The 2009 age-adjusted death rate was the lowest in U.S. history, with just 741 deaths per 100,000 population, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) says in its preliminary death report released Wednesday. The 2009 rate was 2.3 percent lower than the 2008 rate of 758.7 deaths per 100,000 people.
Researchers said they were surprised and heartened to see declines in mortality rates in 10 of the 15 leading causes of death. Death rates fell for heart disease, cancer, stroke, accidents, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza/pneumonia, septicemia, homicide and chronic lower respiratory diseases, such as emphysema and bronchitis.
Mortality rates for leading disease fell so much that suicide cracked the top 10 for the first time in a decade among the leading causes of death for Americans, according to the report.