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What You Need to Know

The new numbers are about 5% lower than the comparable numbers for 2022.
The numbers are more than 10% higher than the numbers for 2019.
One question is how mortality for your clients will compare with general-population mortality.

The total number of U.S. deaths recorded in September, and in the third quarter of the year, might have been much higher than the totals recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic showed up, early figures suggest.

The total number of deaths recorded in preliminary figures for the four-week period ending Sept. 23 was 13% higher than the number recorded during the comparable period in 2019, according to ThinkAdvisor analysis of the death data analysts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use to assess the impact of influenza and flu-like outbreaks.

The total number of deaths recorded during the three-month period ending Sept. 23 was 11% higher than the total the CDC recorded for the comparable period in 2019.

The new numbers still look better than the death counts recorded from 2020 through 2022, when the pandemic was raging. The September count is 4.9% lower than the count for September 2022, and the count for the third quarter is 4.7% lower than the count for the third quarter of 2022.

What it means: A lingering increase in the U.S. mortality rate might continue to be a problem for clients planning for retirement, shopping for life insurance or engaging in other activities that involve life expectancy calculations.

The raw numbers: The CDC recorded 208,852 deaths for September, or about 24,000 more than in September 2019, and 650,780 for the quarter, or about 64,000 more than in the third quarter of 2019.

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Data details: The CDC depends on states to send in death totals.

Some of the many factors affecting the completeness and accuracy of the data are states’ ability to send in data quickly; holidays; technical and staffing problems at the CDC; and changes in data collection and analysis methods.