The CDC released new data on Thursday that showed that life expectancy in the United States has increased in 2018. This will be ending a 3-year streak of decreasing (or the same) life expectancy in the country. 2018-born Americans are expected to live to 78.7 years, 0.1 years more than 2017’s 78.6 years. There are two major factors that have led to this achievement – drop in cancer-related deaths and fatal drug overdoses.
The Opioid Crisis
The Trump administration has taken the opioid crisis very seriously, even making it a key issue of Donald Trump’s presidency. The data from the CDC shows that deaths due to drug overdose dropped for the first time in nearly 30 years. The number of fatal drug overdoses is not small, however. There were more than 67,000 deaths due to overdoses in 2018, making it the second-highest deaths ever recorded due to overdose. However, that figure is a 4 percent decline from 2017, the year of the most drug overdoses in the United States.
Every year, the number of deaths due to drug overdose has been increasing, until 2018. The Trump administration has been focusing on specific drugs, while experts argue that the root of the problem, addiction, has to be tackled. Though the fatal overdose figure has dropped due to a decrease in deaths from heroin and prescription opioids, there the deaths from fentanyl (a synthetic opioid), cocaine, and psychostimulants like methamphetamines.
- Deaths from fentanyl: Increase of 10 percent since 2017
- Deaths from psychostimulants: Increase of 22 percent since 2017
- Deaths from cocaine: Increase of 5 percent since 2017
Tackling cancer-related deaths
There was a 2.2 percent drop in cancer-related deaths, according to researchers, making it the second year in a row that the cancer rate dropped 2.2 percent. However, cancer and heart disease are still the leading causes of death in the United States. Scientists say that a decrease in smoking, earlier detection, and better treatment are the reasons for the drop in the cancer death rate.
Deaths due to various diseases
The report showed that chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease had a small drop in deaths. Influenza and pneumonia, however, had an increase of 4.2 percent. Diabetes and kidney death rates did not change much.
Maternal mortality and pregnancy-related deaths
There has been a rise in deaths due to pregnancy in the past years. In 2007, the death rate for maternal mortality was 12.7 deaths per 100,000 live births. In 2018, the number rose to 17.4 deaths, very high for a developed country like the United States.
However, the CDC says that most of the deaths are preventable. The CDC also says that the rise in the figure is also attributed to better reporting by the states. The implementation of a “checkbox” on death certificates (stating it is a pregnancy-related death) has improved the accuracy of the number. So 2007’s figures may not have been accurate, and that may make 2018’s figure look like a large increase.