The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keep track of mortality statistics for the country, and in 2020, they published updated statistics on what the most common causes of death in the U.S. were. At the top of the list were heart disease (taking 696,962 lives in 2020), cancer (602,350), COVID (350,831), and accidents (200,955). That was followed by two conditions that had almost the same numbers, killing around 150,000 people: Stroke and chronic lower respiratory diseases. Then, that was followed by Alzheimer’s, diabetes, influenza, and pneumonia.
Campaigns like the Million Hearts initiative have been working to prevent things like heart attacks and stroke, so where does that leave the most common causes of death in the future? According to the CDC, they think it’s going to look a little different.
In their report on the future of health and, in turn, death in the U.S., they say that the number of elderly adults is going to double by the year 2030. That means more people are going to be suffering from — and dying from — chronic and age-related causes. Cancer is projected to pass heart disease as the number one killer, while the number of deaths from hepatitis C is also expected to rise — by as much as three times. Alzheimer’s is also on track to take one of the top spots, and it’s expected that as the population ages, they’re going to be facing these different dangers.