Death toll: What were the biggest US causes of death in 2022

Memorial Day Colorado
American flags stand next to gravestones in Fort Logan National Cemetery Monday, May 30, 2022, in Sheridan, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) David Zalubowski/AP

Death toll: What were the biggest US causes of death in 2022

Video Embed

Heart disease is on track to remain the leading cause of death in the United States this year, accounting for the largest number of deaths since 1950.

As of September, behind heart disease, cancer and COVID-19 were the second- and third-highest, respectively, underlying causes of deaths in the country, as the pandemic continued to take a toll, according to an analysis of the total death sum by the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation published in November.


Over 570,000 people died of heart disease from January to September this year. In America, heart disease continues to claim more lives than cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease combined. Some risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking.

Meanwhile, cancer was responsible for more than 450,000 deaths, and COVID-19 accounted for over 230,000 deaths so far this year. Almost half of the COVID-19 deaths occurred in the first two months of the year as the highly contagious omicron variant tore through the country, per the analysis. Since then, COVID-19 deaths have largely plateaued, though hospitalizations have increased in the past two weeks following Thanksgiving.

The leading causes of death in the U.S. have remained the same for the past two years, with heart disease, cancer, and COVID-19 being the top three in 2021 and 2020, as well. “Lung and bronchus, colorectal, pancreatic, and breast cancers are responsible for nearly 50% of” cancer deaths in 2022, National Cancer Institute data indicate.

Accidents, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes are other leading causes of death this year, in line with previous trends.

In 2019, accidents or unintentional injuries, such as from a car crash or fall, were the third-highest cause of death, which was replaced with COVID-19 in 2020 following the onset of the pandemic in March of that year.


Research indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse effect on heart disease rates. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate of cardiovascular disease had been declining for nearly a decade, but that progress was erased in 2020, suggesting that COVID-19 puts some people at an increased risk for new or worsening heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.

“We expected to see an increase in heart disease death rates among adults, however the magnitude of the increase was striking,” Rebecca Woodruff, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

Related articles

Share article

Latest articles