Deaths by influenza and pneumonia in the U.S. 1950-2017

Influenza and pneumonia caused around 14.3 deaths in the U.S. per 100,000 population in 2017. Influenza and pneumonia are among the leading causes of death in the United States, accounting for around 2 percent of all deaths in 2017. Influenza, or the flu, is a viral infection that is highly contagious and especially common in the winter season. Influenza is a common cause of pneumonia, although most cases of the flu do not develop into pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection or inflammation of the lungs and is particularly deadly among young children and the elderly.

Influenza cases

Influenza is very common in the United States, with around 30.9 million cases reported in 2017. Common symptoms of the flu include cough, fever, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat and headache. Symptoms can be mild but can also be severe enough to require medical attention. In 2017, there were around 14.5 million influenza-related medical visits in the United States.


To prevent contracting the flu people can take everyday precautions such as regularly washing their hands and avoiding those who are sick, but the best way to prevent the flu is by receiving the flu vaccination every year. Receiving a flu vaccination is especially important for young children and the elderly as they are most susceptible to flu complications and associated death. In 2017, around 65 percent of those aged 65 years and older received a flu vaccine, while only 33 percent of those aged 18 to 49 years had done so.

Deaths by influenza and pneumonia in the U.S. from 1950 to 2017

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Release date

October 2019


United States

Survey time period

1950 to 2017

Supplementary notes

Data for years not listed in the pdf-version of "Health, United States, 2018" were taken from previous reports.
All rates are age-adjusted. Age-adjusted rates are calculated using the year 2000 standard population. Prior to 2001, age-adjusted rates were calculated using standard million proportions based on rounded population numbers. Starting with 2001 data, unrounded population numbers are used to calculate age-adjusted rates.

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Statistics on "Influenza in the U.S."

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