Published On: Tue, Mar 1st, 2016

What Kills Americans?

Heart Health man medical sich ill illustration


The 10 leading causes of death in the United States accounted for 74 percent of all registered deaths, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Diseases of the heart and cancer were the two leading causes of death, claiming just under 1.2 million lives.

Statistics and facts on Death in the U.S.

Each year, approximately 8 out of 1, 000 Americans die of natural or unnatural causes, the most prevalent ones being heart diseases and cancer. While these two are the most common ones among women and men, the follow-up causes differ; if not from heart diseases or cancer, women are most likely to die of a stroke, while men likely lose their lives due to unnatural causes, e.g.unintentional injuries, which can include anything from household accidents to car crashes to firing a weapon.

Murder and manslaughter as causes of death have been steadily declining in the United States since the mid-nineties, just like the crime rate in most states has, although information purported by the media might suggest otherwise. Death by firearm-related injuries, on the other hand, has reached a plateau since the beginning of Y2K at about 10 deaths per 100, 000 resident population per year on average – still significantly more than in most other countries worldwide. The homicide rate in both North and South America combined is exorbitant in comparison to the rest of the world.

The average life expectancy of Americans is about 78 years, which is slightly below OECD average, and thus typical for a western world country.

The exact number of cemeteries in the United States is not determinable due to insufficient documentation, but death is indisputably a flourishing business: In the United States, the average price of a funeral has been steadily increasing over the last decades. In 2006, an adult’s funeral in the United States was more than twice as expensive as it was in 1985.


This chart shows the leading causes of death among people in the United States in 2013.

Infographic: What Kills Americans? | Statista

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