ATLANTA, GA – May 10, 2023 – On May 4th, the CDC reported that the 4 leading causes of death of Americans in 2022 was #1 heart disease, #2 cancer, #3 unintentional injury (including drug overdose deaths, death by shootings, and motor vehicle fatalities), and #4 COVID-19. The 4 leading causes of death in 2021 were the same as 2022, however, COVID-19 deaths fell from #3 to #4. There were more deaths from heart disease in 2022 than the previous year. Cancer death rates had decreased from 1999-2020, the year that the COVID pandemic began, but increased between 2021 and 2022. The report for 2022 uses provisional data. The final report will be in November.
More than 3 million people died in the U.S. in 2022, 5% less than in 2021. The death rate fell for all racial and ethnic groups. Death rates were highest in older adults, men, and Black persons. The rate overall and for COVID increased for persons <15 years old and remained higher for Black and American Indian/Alaskan Native groups than other race-ethnic groups.
COVID deaths fell by 47% between 2021 and 2022. Most of the deaths were in the hospital, but more deaths occurred outside of the hospital like in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The highest death rates were in the South (including North Carolina and Florida) and South-Central region (Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico). The lowest rates were in New England.
The annual U.S. data on deaths is obtained from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) which is maintained by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The NCHS agency guides public health policy and interventions. Counties and states are obligated to provide death records annually to the NVSS. Data variables include cause of death, age, sex, race, ethnicity, and place of death.
The CDC first reports the annual U.S. mortality data in May, followed by the final report in November. This allows time for the investigation of any questionable findings, to obtain death certificates from late reporting areas, and for review. The gathering of provisional data provides an early opportunity to evaluate trends and begin planning for public health policies and interventions. 2022’s preliminary report highlights the need to focus on men and persons from vulnerable minority groups. These are populations that have higher death rates.
Listen to the full report below:
Contact: Dr. Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, email@example.com