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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Projecting Premature Death Rates for the U.S. Population Through 2030

Posted on July 23, 2018

Young adults meeting at a library table

A new analysis by DCEG investigators and collaborators at the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, projects future premature death rates and the number of excess deaths for the U.S. population aged 25 to 64 by race or ethnicity and sex. Their findings were published online July 20, 2018, in the journal Lancet Public Health.

The authors used age-period-cohort models to project the impact of the continuing divergence of trends in premature death rates by race or ethnicity and sex. Projected increases in premature deaths among non-Hispanic white women and American Indians or Alaska Natives are estimated to cause an additional 240,000 deaths between 2017 and 2030, compared to the number expected if death rates remained stable over that period—an increase of 10 percent. The majority of those deaths—over 100,000—are expected to be accidental, a category that includes drug overdoses.

In contrast, continued declines are projected for non-Hispanic white men, and black, Hispanic, and Asian or Pacific Islander men and women, resulting in nearly 1,000,000 fewer premature deaths during the same period—a reduction of 14 percent, driven mostly by the estimated 300,000 fewer deaths from cancer.

The authors based their analysis on death certificate data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Reference: Best, Ana, et al. Premature mortality projections in the USA through 2030: A modelling study Lancet Public Health, July 20, 2018

Invited commentary: Stein, EM and Remington, PL. The fatal outcomes of failed prevention