Speed Reads

death drop

U.S. death rates dropped in 2022 for the first time since the pandemic began

The U.S. death rate dropped approximately 5.3 percent in 2022 from 2021 according to preliminary data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). COVID-19 also dropped to the fourth leading cause of death. Since the start of the pandemic, U.S. life expectancy had dropped consecutively until now, Axios reports.

However, this wasn't the case across the board. The data shows that COVID-deaths actually increased for all demographics under the age of 15. COVID death rates, though decreased overall, remained highest among Black and Indigenous people.

The top causes of death in the U.S. in 2022 were heart disease, cancer, and unintentional injuries, which include drug overdoses. All of these causes of death increased from the previous year, Axios writes. Opioid overdoses, specifically fentanyl overdoses, have greatly contributed to unintentional injury deaths. "The age-adjusted rate of heart disease deaths increased for the third straight year since 2020," the CDC writes, also adding that "while the age-adjusted rate of cancer deaths had declined steadily during 1999–2020, the cancer death rate increased in 2021 and 2022."

The CDC does note that the "data are provisional, and numbers and rates might change as additional information is received." But, "provisional death estimates provide an early signal about shifts in mortality trends," and it could "guide public health policies and interventions for populations experiencing higher mortality."