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Causes of death, before COVID-19

Illustration by Krieg Barrie


Illustration by Krieg Barrie

655,381

The number of Americans who died from heart disease in 2018, making it the leading cause of death that year. Heart disease was the leading cause of death for both men and women but was more likely to kill men. Smokers, those who were obese, those who were over 55 years old, and those with a family history of heart disease were also at higher risk of dying from heart disease. The category most like COVID-19—influenza and pneumonia—killed 59,120 Americans and was the eighth leading cause of death. The tenth leading cause of death was suicide, with 48,344 deaths, up from 47,173 in 2017.

599,274

The number of deaths from cancer in 2018, the second leading cause of death during that year. The number was virtually unchanged from 599,108 deaths in 2017.

167,127

The number of deaths from unintentional injuries in 2018, making accidents the third leading cause of death.

159,486 

The number of deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases in 2018, making these diseases the fourth leading cause of death. This category includes emphysema, asthma, and pulmonary hypertension.

147,810 

The number of deaths from cerebrovascular diseases (or strokes) in 2018, making strokes the fifth leading cause of death.

—All data are from the National Center for Health Statistics

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Modern-day slaves

Illustration by Krieg Barrie


Illustration by Krieg Barrie

40.3 million

The number of slaves in the world, according to the Walk Free Foundation’s 2018 Global Slavery Index. The total number of slaves included 24.9 million persons working in forced labor (including those trafficked for sex) and 15.4 million persons in forced marriages. The United States was rated as low in terms of numbers of slaves and as strong in terms of government responses. However, the United States ranked the highest in terms of imports of products at risk of being produced by slave labor, with $144 billion in such imports.

$200.1 

The potential value (in billions of U.S. dollars) of slave-made laptops, computers, and mobile phones imported into G20 countries.

$127.7

The potential value (in billions of U.S. dollars) of slave-made garments imported into G20 countries.

104.6 

The number of slaves per 1,000 persons in North Korea, giving the country the highest prevalence of modern slavery.

93

The number of slaves per 1,000 persons in Eritrea, giving the country the second-highest prevalence of modern slavery.

All numbers come from the 2018 Global Slavery Index

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Federal revenues up, federal spending up, federal debt up

Illustration by Krieg Barrie


Illustration by Krieg Barrie

106%

The U.S. federal debt as a percentage of GDP in 2019. It is the highest percentage since the federal debt was 119 percent of GDP in 1946, when the country was beginning to demobilize from fighting World War II. Fifty years ago, in 1969, the federal debt was 35 percent of GDP, and in 1989 it was 50 percent of GDP. By 2009, the debt had reached 83 percent of GDP, and it surpassed 100 percent of GDP for the first time since 1947 in 2014. In most years, federal revenues increased as the debt was building, but not by enough to catch up with federal spending.

$506.7

The increase (in billions of dollars) in federal spending in 2019 compared with 2012 in constant dollars, according to the Tax Policy Center.

$691

The increase (in billions of dollars) in federal receipts in 2019 compared with 2012 in constant dollars, according to the Tax Policy Center.

$14,652

Federal spending per capita in the current fiscal year, according to a New York Times analysis.

$1,441

The increase in inflation-adjusted federal spending per capita since 2016, when Donald Trump was elected president, according to the Times.

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