Leading Causes of Death
In 2005, there were 1,240,342 female deaths in the United States. Of these deaths, nearly half were attributable to heart disease and malignant neoplasms (cancer), responsible for 26.5 and 21.7 percent of deaths, respectively. The next two leading causes of death were cerebrovascular diseases (stroke), which accounted for 7.0 percent of deaths, followed by chronic lower respiratory disease, which accounted for 5.5 percent. Among both males and females under 44 years of age, unintentional injury was the leading cause of death (data not shown).
Heart disease was the leading cause of death for women in almost every racial and ethnic group; the exception was Asian/Pacific Islander females, for whom the leading cause of death was cancer. One of the most noticeable differences in leading causes of death by race and ethnicity is that diabetes mellitus was the eighth leading cause of death among non-Hispanic White females, while it was the fourth among all other racial and ethnic groups. Similarly, chronic lower respiratory disease was the fourth leading cause of death among non-Hispanic White females while it ranked sixth or seventh among other racial and ethnic groups. Death in the perinatal period was the ninth leading cause of death among Hispanic females, and hypertension was the tenth leading cause among Asian/Pacific Islander females (data not shown). Also noteworthy is that American Indian/Alaska Native females experienced a higher proportion of deaths due to unintentional injury (8.0 percent) and liver disease (4.0 percent; seventh leading cause of death) than females of other racial and ethnic groups.