The Top 5 Leading Causes of Death in the United States

  Cause of Death Number of Deaths Percent of Total Deaths Percent Change
(from 2006)
Diseases of the heart 616,067 25.4 % - 4.6 %
Malignant neoplasms (cancer) 562,875 23.2 % - 1.3 %
Cerebrovascular diseases 135,952 5.6 % - 3.2 %
Chronic lower respiratory diseases 127,924 5.3 % + 0.7 %
Accidents 123,706 5.1 % + 0.5 %
Sources:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Vital Statistics Reports 2007. Vol 58, Number 19.
List Notes: Data is top causes of death in the United States and is based on ICD -10, 2004. Data is for the year 2007 which is the latest and most complete data available from this source as of Feb 8th, 2011.
  1. In 2007, a total of 2,423,712 resident deaths were registered in the United States. (a.)
  2. The age-adjusted death rate, which takes the aging of the population into account, was 760.2 deaths per 100,000 U.S. standard population. The 15 leading causes of death in 2007 accounted for 81.4 percent of all deaths in the United States. (a.)
  3. Life expectancy at birth in the United States in 2007 was 77.9 years. (a.)
  4. In 2007, motor-vehicle traffic deaths, poisoning, firearms, and falls accounted for 74.9 percent of all injury deaths in the United States. Motor-vehicle traffic-related injuries resulted in 42,031 deaths, accounting for 23.0 percent of all injury deaths. 40,059 deaths occurred as the result of poisonings, which amounted to 22.0 percent of all injury deaths in the U.S. The majority of poisoning deaths were either unintentional (74.5 percent) or suicides (15.9 percent). However, 9.4 percent of poisoning deaths were of undetermined intent. 31,224 persons died from firearm injuries in the United States, accounting for 17.1 percent of all injury deaths that year. Firearm suicide at 55.6 percent and homicide at 40.5 percent were the two major component causes of all firearm injury deaths in 2007. In 2007, 23,443 persons died as the result of falls, 12.8 percent of all injury deaths. The overwhelming majority of fall-related deaths (96.5 percent) were unintentional. A total of 38,371 persons died of drug-induced causes in the United States in 2007. This category includes not only deaths from dependent and non-dependent use of legal or illegal drugs, but also poisoning from medically prescribed and other drugs. It excludes unintentional injuries, homicides, and other causes indirectly related to drug use, as well as newborn deaths due to the mother’s drug use (a.)
  5. In general, age-adjusted death rates have declined from 1980 through 2007 for white males and females and black males and females. The rate decreased an average of 1.4 percent per year for white males, 0.8 percent for white females, 1.3 percent for black males, and 1.0 percent for black females during the years 1980 to 2007. However, increases were observed for both white males and white females in 1983, 1985, 1988, and 1993. (a.)
Top 5 facts sources:
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2007). "National Vital Statistics Report." Retrieved Feb, 2011.
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