Special Report

How Many People Died The Year You Were Born

The coronavirus has caused over 100,000 deaths and over 1 million infections in the United States so far in 2020. While for many Americans the pandemic has dramatically increased the risk of death, life expectancy in the U.S. has risen steadily for many years. American children born in 2018 are more likely to live longer and healthier lives than they were just a few decades earlier.

Since the 1930s, the life expectancy at birth in America has increased from 60-plus years to nearly 70 years. The nation’s mortality rate — annual deaths per 100,000 people — has been decreasing steadily over the past century, from over 1,800 per 100,000 in the late 1930s to less than 800 per 100,000 since 2006.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Census Bureau to determine how many people died each year since 1933. Data on the leading causes of death also came from the CDC.

For decades, the two most common causes of death have remained the same. Heart disease has been the deadliest condition in America since 1920, when pneumonia and influenza deaths began to decline. Cancer has ranked as the second-most common cause of death in America since 1938. Though both men and women can develop these diseases, the incidence is higher among men. Here are 24 medical tests every man should have and when they should have them.

From 1938 to 2008, the third leading cause of death was cerebrovascular disease, a group of conditions that affect the blood flow to the brain such as stroke, stenosis, aneurysms, and vascular malformations. In 2009, chronic lower respiratory diseases replaced cerebrovascular disease as the third-leading cause of death. Mortality rates for these types of conditions — which include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, emphysema, and others — have increased by more than 30% from 1980 to 2014, which could reflect a number of factors, including historical smoking patterns, poverty, dietary factors, occupational exposures and others.

Despite the spike in mortality rates from these diseases, accidents supplanted respiratory diseases as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2016. Accidental deaths are at an all-time high, accounting for more than 1 in 20 deaths in the country. This increase is largely due to the ongoing opioid epidemic. With more than 67,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2018, drug overdose was the most common type of accidental death.

Click here to see how many people died the year you were born.