How Americans Die

Tyler Durden's picture

America is growing older.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the conversion of America's age pyramid into a rectangle from 1960 to 2050, as was shown in a recent post highlighting America's two 'slow-motion' social dramas. As the Pew Institute summarized "we'll have almost as many Americans over age 85 as under age 5. This is the result of longer life spans and lower birthrates. It’s uncharted territory, not just for us, but for all of humanity. And while it’s certainly good news over the long haul for the sustainability of the earth’s resources, it will create political and economic stress in the shorter term, as smaller cohorts of working age adults will be hard-pressed to finance the retirements of larger cohorts of older ones."


And as society comes to grips with the realization that the average age of America will hit new record highs with every passing day for the indefinite future, a new, and far less pleasant topic is sure to gain prominence. Namely: how Americans Die.

This should be intuitive: since older people die sooner than the young, even despite the generally declining mortality by age cohort, the sheer record number of aged Americans will soon drown out the incremental improvements in life expectancy.

But it is not only age that is a key issue: one surprising finding (in addition to a curious tangent of a brief spike in AIDS-related deaths in the late 80s and early 90s for the 25-44 year old cohort), is that over the past decade, motor vehicle accidents has lost its top spot as the primary cause of violent deaths across the population, handing over the title to both drug-induced deaths and suicides. 

Incidentally, in 2010, the number of suicide deaths was nearly four times greater than the number of Americas murdered by firearm. Perhaps it is time to ban suicides.

All these and many other curious observations surrounding this fascinating topic are revealed in the following interactive visual data compendium by Bloomberg's Matthew Klein.

So without further ado, here is a detailed look into How Americans Die.

First, it should be obvious that courtesy of numerous, life-extending advances over the past several decades, the morality rate has tumbled. Yet in recent years, it has been mostly males who have benefited. Overall progress stopped in the mid-1990s.


However the lack of improvement can be attributed to a simple factor: the aging of Americans, and specifially those aged 55 and over have risen as a total portion of the population from a little over a fifth of total in the year 2000 to a quarter currently.


Another obvious observation: old people die sooner than the young


Instead of breaking down the population into genders, looking at age cohorts over time shows a plunge in mortality across all age groups, with the biggest beneficiaries being Americans 25 and under.


However, something curious appears in the 25-44 age group sometime in the late 1980s...


That something was AIDS...


The AIDS epidemic was so bad for about a decade, the disease became the single largest killer of Americans in their prime, surpassing cancer, heart disease, and all other causes of death.


Of all races, however, the AIDS epidemic targeted mostly black men between 25 and 44.


Another curious observation: there has been no progress in mortality for the 45-54 year olds since the late 1990s.


This quandary is further compounded by the reduced mortality of cancer and heart disease - the biggest traditional killers of this age group - over the past several decades.


So what is the offset? Simple - a surge in deaths from two new killers - suicide and drug deaths.


As noted earlier, while until the mid-1990s, gun deaths outnumbered drug deaths, since then the number of gun murders has actually declined, while drug deaths have exploded. As have suicides. Actually perhaps it is time to ba suicides and drugs. Oh wait, somehow the pharma lobby wouldn't be too happy with that.


As for cars, no need to ban those: motor-related deathes have plunged to a record low, even with seemingy everyone texting and driving.


Safer roads, however, have been more than offset by an explosion in suicides, with representatives of the 25-44 age group most likely to take their lives.


Still, despite all of the noted curious patern shifts, the reality remains that most Americans are living longer and dying of natural causes.


If there is any bad news here, it is that as Americans get older they increasingly succumb to such debilitating, age-related diseases as dementia and Alzheimer's. Indeed, while there has been substantial progress in heart disease-related deaths, the total number of deaths in the 75 and older category has remained flat, precisely due to the increasing prevalence of such age-degenrative conditions.


Which means one thing is certain: the amount of spending on Alzheimer's and other age-related diseases is set to soar.

Source: Bloomberg

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Motorhead's picture

Fuck, man, charts, bitchez!!

EscapingProgress's picture

These charts are clearly inaccurate. Everybody knows that the only people who die in America die as a result of gunshot wounds. Get these weapons of war off our streets!

James_Cole's picture

The cancer chart is probably misleading:

Nice charts though. And by the time 2060 rolls around  (if we get there) computers will have long been running the show so no worry about workers. 

MontgomeryScott's picture

I LIKE THIS statement in the article:

"Another obvious observation: old people die sooner than the young" (smacks forehead with palm of hand in sudden 'Eureka!' moment)

At this point in time, trying to predict out to 2060 is increasingly difficult to do. GMO's, fracking, The Gulf oil spill, chemtrails, Fukushima, Chernoybl, Harry Reid, 'TERR-R-RISTS", cops who shoot dogs and people, the possibility of WW O, North Korean EMP's, SSRI's, Gangstas, Bankstas, and other variables have NOT been factored in to this article.

I hope that when I hit one hundred, the FedGov.INC. will keep their promise to exempt me from any taxation. They WON'T, though, and I know it as well as you-all.

AH... computers running everything! THAT will take the stress off, won't it?




SWRichmond's picture

Suicide rates for men are three times that of women.  In some age groups it's worse.  Where are the walkathons, colored armbands, blue ribbon panels, awareness telethons?

If it's not a WOMEN'S health issue, it's not an issue.

Wait What's picture

it's because the increase in suicides is disproportionally war vets. they can't just throw out psa's on the matter cuz it makes America look like it's not taking care of its war wounded.

i_fly_me's picture

". . . cuz it reveals that America isn't taking care of its war wounded."

(fixed that for ya)

Anusocracy's picture

I suggest a concerted effort to support SENS:

Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) is the term coined by British biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey for the diverse range of regenerative medical therapies, either planned or currently in development,[1] for the periodical repair of all age-related damage to human tissue with the ultimate purpose of maintaining a state of negligible senescence in the patient, thereby postponing age-associated disease for as long as the therapies are reapplied.[2]

By enumerating the various differences between young and old tissue identified by the science of biogerontology, a 'damage' report was drawn, which in turn formed the basis of the SENS strategy. The results fell into seven main categories of 'damage', seven alterations whose reversal would constitute negligible senescence:

cell loss or atrophy (without replacement),[4][13][14]
oncogenic nuclear mutations and epimutations,[15][16][17]
cell senescence (Death-resistant cells),[18][19]
mitochondrial mutations,[20][21]
Intracellular junk or junk inside cells (lysosomal aggregates),[22][23]
extracellular junk or junk outside cells (extracellular aggregates),[18][19]
random extracellular cross-linking.[18][19]

For each of these areas SENS offers at least one strategy, with a research and a clinical component. The clinical component is required because in some of the proposed therapies, feasibility has already been proven, but not completely applied and approved for human trials. These strategies do not presuppose that the underlying metabolic mechanisms of aging be fully understood, only that we take into account the form senescence takes as directly observable to science, and described in scientific literature..

snr-moment's picture

Speaking of PSA's..........will that still be covered?

fattail's picture

It also makes people acknowledge the real cost of war and thus less likely to support the MIC next money making racket.


Canoe Driver's picture

As for Aids mortality, read Peter Duesberg. He predicted the precipitous decline in mortality shown above, and it tends to confirm his Aids causality hypothesis. His work is being suppressed by a profiteering orthodoxy. It is absurd to attribute the decline in Aids deaths to safe sex and medicine. The population subgroups with the highest mortality from Aids were not the subgroups adopting safe sex practices, and neither could they generally afford the relevant medications, which in any event are of quite limited efficacy. In sum, the public has been deceived yet again.

snr-moment's picture

How about we attribute it to the fact that they died.  Alot like the hemophiliacs.

fattail's picture

Of course the suicide rates have been skewed much higher due to the prevalence of nail guns and bankers.

I can't believe I am the first to make this connection.

The Shootist's picture

Awesome, thanks ZH!

Flagit's picture

No nail gun category?

nope, we's goin OLD SCHOOL.

this crucifixion has been brought to you by Home Depot.

its much better when viewed with the proper background music.

ebworthen's picture

Drugs to escape the insanity of modern society; or the ultimate escape - suicide.

You don't have to deal with the lies or the pain with drugs or suicide.

People used to have more to live for.

boogerbently's picture

I work in a hospital emergency room. At any one time, about 20% of our patients are there for "mental" reasons.

Anxiety, PTSD, bipolar, schiztophrenia, suicidal ideation.....

We have been leaning towards two complimentary ideas.

The easy way out, drugs (prescribed or not) and suicide, and a lack of respect for life (abortion, increased media violence, reduced sentences for murderers.)

fallout11's picture

Overpopulation trends increase the lack of respect for life. The more people there are, the less each life is worth on the whole (life is already really cheap in many parts of the world). This is why democracy, as a concept, cannot survive overpopulation.

asteroids's picture

If you are 45-54, you are being worked to death and stripped of your assests at the same time. That's why your mortality rate isn't improving.

10mm's picture

48 and fuck and sleep. 

bigkahuna's picture

If u r 45-54 you have realized that they slaved your ass out for the most fun part of your life and you are too much of an old crusty bastard to do much about it now - so u r probably a bit irked.

It is difficult because we can tell the next generation to not let their lives pass them by - but it does no good. Either they slave it out the same way we did, or they end up in JAIL! (and that is probably worse than being a slave)

boogerbently's picture

We need to identify these potential suicide victims and have them kill someone that NEEDS killing.

The "respect for life" issue obviously isn't a problem.

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

~"...and have them kill someone that NEEDS killing."~

Uhm..., looking at the charts, I'm guessing that's going to be "grannies over 85 years of age". So here are the problems with that idea:

1.) Not a whole lot of sport in that now is there?

2.) They take much longer to cook as they are rather chewy unless stewed for hours.

3.) Really puts the kabosh on festive holidays.("Where's grandma?" "We ate her for Lent.")

4.) May screw with your relationship with your kids. (So how old are you really, Mom?")

5.) Increased chance of firearms accidents in the home. ("Is it true grandma sleeps with a gun?")

And lastly...

6.) It doesn't matter how much you smoke her, she still won't taste like ham!

wee-weed up's picture

ObozoCare Death Panels should solve the problem of too many old folks living too long.

EscapingProgress's picture

I bet those staffing the death panels will have excellent healthcare plans.

DosZap's picture

ObozoCare Death Panels should solve the problem of too many old folks living too long.



Folks wth pre-existing severe conditions are ALREADY being denied care.No Dr.s accepting them, or the ACA Plans.Terminally ill, and dependent on meds and their Dr.'s are NOW being dropped.Folks signed up, to ACA and PAYING prems, cannot find a Dr. that will treat them, and the one's that WILL, turn  them down due to overload already(and they are returning to Free Clinics),or help.(who BY Law,are not supposed to treat them!!).

Nothing like paying for insurance, and unable to get ANY treatment.

Did they not expect a graying of society, when they have aborted 53-55 million POTENTIAL taxpayers, and the two generations that WOULD have been born and of age to NOT cause this.Murder always has consequences.

FredFlintstone's picture

Bout time. Old folks don't pay for insurance. There is no insurance for old age. Medications are a scam.

Live, enjoy life if you can, then die.

ebworthen's picture

If I get to that age and this society won't treat me I'll take more than a few with me on the way out.  Just sayin'.

FredFlintstone's picture

The large majority of people in their 70s and 80s are walking around with some form of cancer.

Gavrikon's picture

Nyeh, we men almost ALL will have prostate cancer.  Usually die with it rather than from.  

Oldballplayer's picture

Black backgrounds with Neon colors.  Yeah....those are readable.  Not.


Omegaman2211's picture

I almost died of boredom reading this and staring at these charts.

MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

Maybe u should be catching up with the Kardashians instead...

gdogus erectus's picture

Skip to the death of over 75 YO. That will get you excited. Death rates in this category increased dramatically due to the airial spraying of aluminum and barium coated particles starting in the early 90s.

Please, please search on "chelation of aluminum" to figure out how to get aluminum out of your system. Simple common foods remove it. Your life may depend on it.

Omegaman2211's picture

But ZH is still my drug of choice

debtor of last resort's picture

First slowly, then suddenly... Happy easter bitchez.

D-liverSil-ver's picture

Over a Million abortions every year will make a society older.

boogerbently's picture

Let's allow retroactive abortion. (Hey, they STILL came from a womans body, her RIGHT, right?)

Allow it to age 30, if they are still underproducing (live at home, drug users, receiving govt assistance, uneducated.....) give mom an incentive to OFF the little usurper ! Think of the LIFETIME of nanny state $$$$ we'd save killing the younger ones.

One And Only's picture

An off shoot of this argument is obesity.

So the prevailing thought is that certain types of food make people fat (trans fats etc). I don't subscribe to this idea at all. I eat tons of fatty sugary foods and I'm a lean 6 foot 175 lbs. So....why am I not fat? It breaks down to genetics.

So why are there soooo many fat fucks around? As Tyler pointed out - modern medicine. It's not that the food is making people fat it's that medicine is allowing fat people to live longer. A few decades ago if you were fat, you well, died (of pretty much anything) and thus there wasn't a glut of fat people. If you have the ability to keep every fat person alive for as long as possible you're going to have...more fat people right? And now with free healthcare for every degenerate out there, you can be sure to see the population of fat degenerates explode.

While I have the genetics that would make Adonis blush with jealously I am now being subject to ridiculous laws and regulations that have nothing to do with me. I want my food to taste good and it just so happens that fat, sugar, and salt make my palate wet with satisfaction. I like my greasy burritos deep fried and my super sized drinks extra sugary.

But they will hammer that propaganda into you - guns kill, spoons make people fat, pencils misspell words. It's all a ruse so they can regulate you until you want to fucking kill yourself, which as noted in this article is happening.

"If the people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." - Thomas Jefferson

MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

'taint the meds, 'tis the eny fule kno ;O)

zhandax's picture

The human body was designed to run on carbs.  How many fat Asians do you know?  If you don't want to be fat, stop eating fats.

James_Cole's picture

So the prevailing thought is that certain types of food make people fat (trans fats etc). I don't subscribe to this idea at all. 

lol, congratulations on your insight good sir. One day, gawd willing, you shall be crowned chief ceo of Idiocracy. 

One And Only's picture

Sir, I thank you for your kind and astute response. It was a response I will spend many hours reflecting upon.

James_Cole's picture

You seem to mean well but eating healthy foods & exercising is actually important to ones general health - particularly as you age. And we're all aware genetics play a factor..some people smoke into their 90s but most don't. Not rocket science.