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For the First Time in 45 Years, Murder Not on CDC List of Leading Causes of U.S. Death

For the first time since the mid-1960s, murder was not on the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) list of top killers in the United States in 2010.

According to the CDC,  pneumonitis due to solids of liquids– a respiratory illness that affects the elderly– knocked homicide off the ‘top 15’ killers list, the first time murder didn’t make the list since 1965. FBI statistics showed a more than 7% drop in murders for the first half of 2010, so the CDC announcement wasn’t exactly a surprise. The declining murder rate is part of an overall downward trend in violent crime, which may surprise some in lieu of the tough economic times the nation has experienced over the past half decade.

Murder placed 16th in the CDC rankings, with 16,065 homicides counted in 2010.

Additionally, the CDC announced that U.S. life expectancy rose slightly in 2010, from 78.6 to 78.7 years.

Even more good news: the U.S. infant mortality rate dropped to the lowest level ever, 6.14 deaths for every 1,000 babies born. That’s down from 6.39/1,000 the previous year.

Heart disease and cancer remained the leading causes of death in the U.S., with nearly half of the nation’s 2.4 million deaths attributable to them. But death rates from these ailments declined, as did deaths from stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents, flu/pneumonia and blood infections.

Death rates increased from Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease, chronic liver disease, Parkinson’s disease and pneumonitis.

Here is the CDC’s top 15 causes of U.S. death list:

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