14 Adult Mortality

  • Richard G. RogersEmail author
  • Robert A. Hummer
  • Patrick M. Krueger
  • Justin M. Vinneau
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


Demographers play a vital role in documenting and explaining adult mortality patterns and trends so that policymakers have a credible scientific base from which to improve health and increase life expectancy. Consistent with that role, this chapter reviews the complex set of demographic, socioeconomic, social, behavioral, geographic, environmental, and biological factors that shape adult mortality patterns, risks, and causes, with a geographic focus on the United States. While the United States has witnessed remarkable declines in adult mortality over the past century, it has experienced increases in middle-aged mortality over the past several years and ranks poorly relative to other high-income countries. Given the key points made in this chapter, we conclude that future reductions in U.S. adult mortality rates will depend upon reductions in obesity, tobacco consumption, drug and alcohol abuse, violence, physical inactivity, and racial and socioeconomic inequality.


Adult mortality Tobacco consumption Alcohol consumption Drug abuse Obesity Socioeconomic status Race/ethnicity Geographic variations International comparisons 



We thank the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD grant 1R01HD082106) for research support; the NICHD-funded University of Colorado Population Center (Award Number P2CHD066613) and the NICHD-funded Carolina Population Center (Award Number P2CHD050924) for administrative and computing support. The content of this manuscript is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH or NICHD.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard G. Rogers
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robert A. Hummer
    • 2
  • Patrick M. Krueger
    • 3
  • Justin M. Vinneau
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.University of Colorado DenverDenverUSA

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