Over the last couple of months we’ve brought you grim news from the USA. First there was the story of the rapid rise in the mortality rate of middle aged white Americans mainly driven by suicide, drugs and alcohol. Secondly, there was last month’s report on the rise by 24% in the suicide rate of all Americans from 1999 to 2014.

Now, linked to those pieces of news, is this report from the New York Times that the mortality rate for the entire population of the USA grew from 723.2 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014 to 729.5 deaths per 100,000 people last year. While this is not the first such rise ever, it is the first rise in a decade. As the Times notes:

A bad flu season pushed it up in 2005, and AIDS and the flu contributed to a sharp increase in 1993. In 1999, there was a tiny increase.”

So perhaps this will be another once-off event, explicable by some specific reason. However, it is enough of a rise to have federal researchers worried:

It is not clear exactly what has pushed the mortality rate up in 2015 and whether it is solely due to the rise in the middle-aged white American mortality rate. However, some, like Sam Harper, an epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal, do draw the conclusion that this overall mortality rate rise is probably “heavily influenced by whites”.

As a final coda that perhaps illustrates a graying population: the rate for Alzheimer’s disease continued to rise: from 25.4 in 2014 to 29.2 in 2015. 

This article was originally published on MercatorNet.com under a Creative Commons License. If you enjoyed this article, visit MercatorNet.com for more.