Mortality in the United States, 2020
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    Data from the National Vital Statistics System

    • Life expectancy for the U.S. population in 2020 was 77.0 years, a decrease of 1.8 years from 2019.

    • The age-adjusted death rate increased by 16.8% from 715.2 deaths per 100,000 standard population in 2019 to 835.4 in 2020.

    • Age-specific death rates increased from 2019 to 2020 for each age group 15 years and over.

    • Nine of the 10 leading causes of death in 2020 remained the same as in 2019, although 5 causes switched rank; heart disease and cancer remained the top 2 leading causes, and COVID-19 became the third leading cause of death in 2020.

    • The infant mortality rate decreased 2.9% in 2020 from 2019 to a record low of 541.9 infant deaths per 100,000 live births.

    This report presents final 2020 U.S. mortality data on deaths and death rates by demographic and medical characteristics. These data provide information on mortality patterns in U.S. residents by variables such as sex, age, race and Hispanic origin, and cause of death. Life expectancy estimates, age-adjusted death rates, age-specific death rates, 10 leading causes of death, and 10 leading causes of infant death were analyzed by comparing 2020 and 2019 final data.

    Suggested citation: Murphy SL, Kochanek KD, Xu JQ, Arias E. Mortality in the United States, 2020. NCHS Data Brief, no 427. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2021.



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