CDC tracks death rates
ATLANTA -- Deaths from heart and disease and cancer declined by 3.6% and 2.2% respectively from 2002 to 2003, according to the latest U.S. mortality statistics released in March by the CDC.
Heart disease and cancer, the two leading causes of death, account for more than half of all deaths in the United each year.
Mortality increased for the following leading causes of death: Alzheimer's disease (5.9%), kidney disease (2.1%), hypertension (5.7%) and Parkinson's disease (3.4%).
Deaths from respiratory illnesses declined by 0.7%. Declines were also documented for stroke (4.6%), suicide (3.7%), flu/pneumonia (3.1%), chronic liver disease and cirrhosis (2.1%), and accidents/unintentional injuries (2.2%).
The gap between male and female life expectancy closed from 5.4 years in 2002 to 5.3 years in 2003, continuing a trend toward narrowing since the peak gap of 7.8 years in 1979. Record-high life expectancies were found for white males (75.4 years) and black males (69.2 males), as well as for white females (80.5 years) and black females (76.1 years).
Life expectancy for Americans has reached an all-time high. The report, "Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2003," shows life expectancy at 77.6 years in 2003, up from 77.3 in 2002.