Special Report

The Most Unusual Causes of Death By State

46. Vermont
> Cause of death: Other nutritional deficiencies
> No. deaths 2001-2010: 16
> Age-adjusted mortality rate: N/A
> Mortality rate compared to national: N/A

24/7 Wall St. could not determine the age-adjusted mortality rate for “other nutritional deficiencies” due to the low total number of deaths. However, death rates from influenza, hernia, “hyperplasia of prostate, and falls are at least twice twice the national average.

47. Virginia
> Cause of death: Other acute ischemic heart diseases
> No. deaths 2001-2010: 5,136
> Age-adjusted mortality rate: 6.92 per 100,000
> Mortality rate compared to national: 5.9

The age-adjusted mortality rate for this category is 5.9 times higher than the national average. The only other category significantly higher is “pneumoconioses and chemical effects” (2.7). Along with Oklahoma and South Carolina, the state also reports deaths from “other acute ischemic heart diseases” at significantly higher rates than others.

The Least Healthy County in Each State

48. Washington
> Cause of death: Meningococcal infection
> No. deaths 2001-2010: 47
> Age-adjusted mortality rate: 0.08 per 100,000
> Mortality rate compared to national: 2.7

The rate of mortality due to meningococcal infection is 2.7 times higher than the national average in Washington; this, however accounts for an incredibly small total number of deaths. The second most disparate cause of death in Washington state is Alzheimer’s, which at 1.8 times the national average has the highest rate in the country, and accounts for 41.2 deaths per 100,000.

49. West Virginia
> Cause of death: Pneumoconioses and chemical effects
> No. deaths 2001-2010: 882
> Age-adjusted mortality rate: 3.94 per 100,000
> Mortality rate compared to national: 12.3

The mortality rate due to pneumoconioses and chemical effects, also known as “black lung,” in West Virginia is 12.3 times higher than the national average, and accounts for an age-adjusted 3.9 deaths per 100,000. This is the second most disproportionate cause of death in the nation. This is likely due to the significant mining in the state, with the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training reporting roughly 30,000 direct jobs from the coal industry. Additionally, West Virginia has the highest rate of smoking in the nation.

Companies With the Best (and Worst) Reputations

50. Wisconsin
> Cause of death: Other and unspecified acute lower respiratory infections
> No. deaths 2001-2010: 26
> Age-adjusted mortality rate: 0.04 per 100,000
> Mortality rate compared to national: 2.0

Another average state in terms of causes of death, Wisconsin has three categories with age-adjusted mortality rates that are roughly twice the national average: “other and unspecified acute lower respiratory infections,” influenza, and falls. This fits a pattern seen in other Northern/Midwestern states, with the flu and lung infections being slightly more disproportionately represented.

51. Wyoming
> Cause of death: Influenza
> No. deaths 2001-2010: 49
> Age-adjusted mortality rate: 0.95 per 100,000
> Mortality rate compared to national: 2.5

The flu accounts for 0.95 deaths per 100,000 in Wyoming, the fourth highest ratio for age-adjusted mortality in the nation. Wyoming also has the second-highest age-adjusted mortality rate for intentional self-harm (suicide) by discharge of firearms, and third-highest for intentional self-harm overall — Alaska and Montana, round out the top three. All three states are at roughly twice the national average in both of these categories.