The U.S. death rate rose last year, and 2017 likely will mark the third straight year of decline in American life expectancy, according to preliminary data.
Death rates rose from diseases like diabetes, flu and pneumonia according to numbers posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And full-year data is not yet available for drug overdoses, suicides or firearm deaths, but partial-year statistics in those categories showed continuing increases.
The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics calculated the preliminary rates based on a first-pass review of death certificates filed last year.
For decades in America, life expectancy increased, rising a few months nearly every year. But 2016 was the second year in a row where the U.S. life expectancy fell, a rare event in the last century.
And with 2017, it would make three straight years in a row of decline in American life expectancy. Health officials say there previously was one three-year decline. That occurred in 1916, 1917 and 1918, a period that included the worst flu pandemic in modern world history.
Looking at the numbers, researchers say it seems likely that the nation has just tied that record.
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