Medicine: Death Draws Back

The U.S. death rate set an alltime low in 1948, the National Office of Vital Statistics reported last week. There were 1,444,337 deaths—i.e., 9.9 per 1,000 population, compared with 10.1 in 1947 and 10.0 (the previous low) in 1946. Markedly lower were deaths in childbirth (down 17%) and from syphilis (down 8%). But both heart disease (the heaviest killer—one-third of all deaths) and cancer slightly increased their toll.

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