Special Report

The Most Unusual Causes of Death By State

21. Maryland
> Cause of death: Other and unspecified events of undetermined intent
> No. deaths 2001-2010: 6,588
> Age-adjusted mortality rate: 11.47 per 100,000
> Mortality rate compared to national: 7.3

Maryland is one of several states whose most disproportionate cause of death is the non-specific trauma or injury. The mortality rate from this is 7.3 times higher in Maryland than the national average. “Events of undetermined intent” are the second most disproportionate in the state, and seven times higher than the national average. Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and HIV are the only other two causes of death more than twice the national average in Maryland.

22. Massachusetts
> Cause of death: Other and unspecified events of undetermined intent
> No. deaths 2001-2010: 3,077
> Age-adjusted mortality rate: 4.72 per 100,000
> Mortality rate compared to national: 3.0

Massachusetts is a very average state in terms of causes of death, with only vaguely defined accident-category codes reporting mortality rates more than twice the national average. “Other and unspecified events of undetermined intent” accounts for an age-adjusted 4.72 deaths per 100,000; its parent category, “events of undetermined intent” accounts for an age-adjusted 4.75 deaths per 100,000.

The Least Healthy County in Each State

23. Michigan
> Cause of death: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, so described
> No. deaths 2001-2010: 37,292
> Age-adjusted mortality rate: 35 per 100,000
> Mortality rate compared to national: 1.7

Typical heart disease accounted for 35 age-adjusted deaths per 100,000 in Michigan, which is 1.7 times higher than the national average. The state is otherwise average in terms of its causes of death. Michigan has the 10th-highest rate of obesity and 14th-highest poverty rate, but has relatively low rates of uninsured residents (11%, or 14th best).

24. Minnesota
> Cause of death: Other and unspecified acute lower respiratory infections
> No. deaths 2001-2010: 28
> Age-adjusted mortality rate: 0.05 per 100,000
> Mortality rate compared to national: 2.5

As with Iowa and Kansas, Minnesota has a significantly higher mortality rate from these non-specific lung infections than the national average. In Minnesota, this rate is 2.5 times higher than the national average. Mortality rates from influenza (2.1) and the very general catch-all category, “Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified,” are similarly elevated.

The Least Healthy County in Each State

25. Mississippi
> Cause of death: Other and unspecified malignant neoplasms of lymphoid, hematopoietic and related tissue
> No. deaths 2001-2010: 18
> Age-adjusted mortality rate: N/A
> Mortality rate compared to national: N/A

This category refers to poorly classified cancers of the blood and immune system, and accounts for such a small number of deaths that 24/7 Wall St. was unable to compute independently age-adjusted mortality rates. Age-adjusted mortality rates are generally higher in Mississippi, with several categories more than twice the national average: hypertensive heart disease (2.3), hypertensive heart and renal disease (2.5), heart failure (2.6), motor vehicle (2.1) and transport accidents (2.0).