WHAT KILLS US: The Leading Causes Of Death From 1900-2010

Death rates 1900 and 2010

[credit provider=”The New England Journal Of Medicine” url=”http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1113569″]

The New England Journal of Medicine takes a look at the leading causes of death in the U.S. from 1900 to 2010.The change is interesting, as is our ever-increasing longevity–something that scientists think may now reverse as a result of the global obesity epidemic.

We’ve laid the findings out for you in a series of charts (and you can head over to the NEJM’s excellent interactive graphic if you want to fiddle). Thank to Sarah Kliff at the Washington Post for alerting us to this.

Before you click, here are a few questions for you:

  • What was the leading cause of death in 1900?
  • What’s the leading cause of death today?
  • How many people in 100,000 die from “accidents” each year? How has that changed?
  • How many suicides are there?

[slideshow]
[slide
permalink=”first-the-big-picture-these-two-charts-show-the-time-period-from-1900-to-2010-on-top-the-bars-show-the-total-deaths-per-year-per-100000-people-the-bottom-shows-our-average-life-expectancy-which-continues-to-increase-and-now-on-to-what-kills-us-1″
title=”First, the big picture. These two charts show the time period from 1900 to 2010. On top, the bars show the total deaths per year per 100,000 people. The bottom shows our average life-expectancy, which continues to increase. And now on to what kills us…”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe6eb0deab8eab54900003a”
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[slide
permalink=”the-biggest-cause-of-death-today-is-heart-disease-heart-disease-has-been-the-leading-cause-of-death-for-most-of-the-past-century-interestingly-though-the-heart-disease-epidemic-peaked-in-the-1960s-at-about-350-deaths-per-100000-people-it-has-since-been-cut-in-half-2″
title=”The biggest cause of death today is heart disease. Heart disease has been the leading cause of death for most of the past century. Interestingly, though, the heart disease “epidemic” peaked in the 1960s at about 350 deaths per 100,000 people. It has since been cut in half.”
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[slide
permalink=”then-theres-cancer-which-kills-almost-as-many-people-3″
title=”Then there’s cancer, which kills almost as many people.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe6622d69bedd2c1b000011″
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[slide
permalink=”then-lung-disease-4″
title=”Then lung disease.”
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[slide
permalink=”cerebrovascular-disease-strokes-aneurysms-5″
title=”Cerebrovascular disease (strokes, aneurysms)”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe6626869bedd2d1b000021″
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[slide
permalink=”accidents-this-category-includes-car-accidents-which-well-look-at-in-more-detail-later-38-people-per-100000-are-killed-in-accidents-each-year-as-compared-to-193-being-killed-by-heart-disease-6″
title=””Accidents.” This category includes car accidents, which we’ll look at in more detail later. 38 people per 100,000 are killed in accidents each year, as compared to 193 being killed by heart disease.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe662806bb3f7ae1d000018″
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]
[slide
permalink=”alzheimers-7″
title=”Alzheimer’s.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe662be69beddf21a000013″
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]
[slide
permalink=”diabetes-8″
title=”Diabetes.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe662d16bb3f7dd1f000012″
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]
[slide
permalink=”kidney-disease-9″
title=”Kidney disease.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe66307ecad041d73000005″
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]
[slide
permalink=”flu-and-pneumonia-note-how-many-people-flu-and-pneumonia-used-to-kill-way-back-in-1900-10″
title=”Flu and pneumonia. Note how many people flu and pneumonia used to kill, way back in 1900.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe6632aeab8ea053900001d”
caption=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”lastly-suicide-12-people-kill-themselves-out-of-100000-every-year-11″
title=”Lastly, suicide. 12 people kill themselves out of 100,000 every year.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe6635b69beddf71d000017″
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[slide
permalink=”and-how-has-all-this-changed-well-in-1900-the-leading-cause-of-death-was-flu-and-pneumonia-a-reader-points-out-that-the-huge-spike-in-deaths-in-the-late-1910s-was-the-spanish-flu-12″
title=”And how has all this changed? Well, in 1900, the leading cause of death was… flu and pneumonia. A reader points out that the huge spike in deaths in the late 1910s was the Spanish flu.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe65ca76bb3f7af0f000018″
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[slide
permalink=”tuberculosis-was-the-second-leading-killer-in-1900-theres-actually-a-fierce-debate-in-the-medical-community-over-whether-it-was-drugs-that-licked-tuberculosis-or-changes-in-lifestyle-13″
title=”Tuberculosis was the second-leading killer in 1900. There’s actually a fierce debate in the medical community over whether it was drugs that licked tuberculosis or changes in lifestyle.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe65ca56bb3f7a10f000032″
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[slide
permalink=”and-then-there-were-gastro-intestinal-diseases-presumably-heart-disease-cancer-and-other-diseases-we-now-diagnose-accurately-were-once-categorized-differently-14″
title=”And then there were “gastro-intestinal diseases.” Presumably, heart disease, cancer, and other diseases we now diagnose accurately were once categorized differently.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe667436bb3f70120000019″
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[slide
permalink=”and-then-there-was-heart-disease-which-killed-a-lot-of-people-back-then-too-15″
title=”And then there was heart disease, which killed a lot of people back then, too.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe66756eab8ea694b00000c”
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[slide
permalink=”happily-diseases-of-early-infancy-kill-fewer-people-than-they-used-to-16″
title=”Happily, diseases of early infancy kill fewer people than they used to.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe6672becad041b7300003a”
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[slide
permalink=”accidents-kill-fewer-people-than-they-used-to-but-they-still-happen-the-yellow-bars-are-car-accidents-which-killed-18-people-out-of-100000-in-1990-17″
title=”Accidents kill fewer people than they used to, but they still happen. The yellow bars are “car accidents,” which killed 18 people out of 100,000 in 1990.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe65ca86bb3f79011000014″
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[slide
permalink=”and-here-it-is-all-laid-out-in-one-chart-deaths-per-100000-people-by-cause-1900-vs-2010-18″
title=”And here it is all laid out in one chart: Deaths per 100,000 people by cause, 1900 vs 2010.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe65ccc69bedd0b1b000000″
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[slide
permalink=”lastly-check-out-the-causes-of-death-in-boston-in-1812-almost-100-years-earlier-lots-of-consumption-and-flu-and-many-babies-were-stillborn-19″
title=”Lastly, check out the causes of death in Boston in 1812, almost 100 years earlier. Lots of “consumption” and flu. And many babies were stillborn.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4fe65cc96bb3f7b91300000a”
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[slide
permalink=”but-enough-about-death-now-check-out-something-more-uplifting-20″
title=”But enough about death. Now check out something more uplifting…”
content=”11 Homeless People Who Became Famous And Rich >
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4ea9c198ecad04c97900000f”
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]
[/slideshow]