The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) issued a report on the 2015 United States final mortality data on deaths and death rate by demographic and medical characteristics. Mortality patterns among U.S. residents were described according to variables such as sex, race, ethnicity, and cause of death. Data from 2015 and 2014 were further compared to analyze life expectancy estimates; age-adjusted death rates by race, ethnicity, and sex; the top 10 causes of death; and the top 10 causes of infant death.

In 2015, a total of 2,712,630 resident deaths were registered in the U.S., which is 86,212 more than in 2014. Life expectancy for the U.S. population in 2015 was 78.8 years, a decrease of 0.1 year from 2014. In general, the life expectancy for females was consistently higher compared to males. The difference in life expectancy at age 65 between female and males stayed at 2.6 years in 2015. 

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The age-adjusted death rate increased 1.2% from 724.6 deaths per 100,000 standard population in 2014 to 733.1 per 100,000 standard population in 2015. Specifically, these rates increased by 0.9% for non-Hispanic black males, 1.0% for non-Hispanic white males, and by 1.6% for non-Hispanic white females. No significant change in rates were seen for non-Hispanic black females, Hispanic males, and Hispanic females from 2014 to 2015.

The 10 leading causes of death in 2015 remained the same as in 2014: heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, unintentional injuries, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide. These causes comprise 74.2% of all deaths in the U.S. in 2015. Age-adjusted death rates increased for 8 of the 10 leading causes and decreased for one, cancer (–1.7%). No significant change in rates were seen for influenza and pneumonia.

The infant mortality rate (defined as the ratio of infant deaths to live births in a given year) of 589.5 infant deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015 did not significantly differ from the 2014 rate of 582.1 infant deaths per 100,000 live births. 

The 10 leading causes of infant death in 2015 remained the same as in 2014, although two causes exchanged ranks: congenital malformations, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome, maternal complications, unintentional injuries, cord and placental complications, bacterial sepsis of newborn, respiratory distress of newborn, disease of the circulatory system, and neonatal hemorrhage. These causes comprise 68.6% of all infant deaths in the U.S. 

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