March 26, 2021


The CDC National Center for Health Statistics web page “Stats of the States” has been updated to include the latest state-based final data on selected vital statistics topics, including:

  • General fertility rates
  • Teen birth rates
  • Selected other maternal and infant health measures
  • Marriage & divorce rates
  • Leading causes of death
  • Other high profile causes of death.

The site’s map pages allow users to rank states from highest to lowest or vice versa.  This latest version of “Stats of the States” also includes two new topics:  Life expectancy by state and COVID-19 death rates by state (provisional data on a quarterly basis, through Q3 of 2020).  All death rates are adjusted for age.  Rates are featured in the maps because they best illustrate the impact of a specific measure on a particular state.

The main “Stats of the States” page can be accessed at:

Drug Poisoning Mortality, by State and by Race and Ethnicity: United States, 2019

March 25, 2021


NCHS released a Health E-Stat that provides information on drug overdose mortality by state (and the District of Columbia) and by race and ethnicity, and adds to findings from a recently published Data Brief on drug overdose death rates.


  • The age-adjusted rate for drug overdose deaths in the United States for 2019 was 21.6 per 100,000 standard population.
  • The five states with the highest rates were West Virginia (52.8), Delaware (48.0), District of Columbia (43.2), Ohio (38.3), and Maryland (38.2). 
  • The five states with the lowest rates were Nebraska (8.7), South Dakota (10.5), Texas (10.8),
    North Dakota (11.4), and Iowa (11.5).
  • The age-adjusted drug overdose death rate for the non-Hispanic white population in 2019 (26.2
    per 100,000 standard population) was 21.3% higher than the national rate.
  • The rate for the non-Hispanic black population (24.8) was 14.8% higher than the national rate.
  • The rate for the non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native population (30.5) was 41.2% higher than
    the national rate.
  • The rate for the non-Hispanic Asian population (3.3) was 84.7% lower than the national rate.
  • The rate for the non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander population (9.5) was 56.0% lower than the national rate. The rate for the Hispanic population (12.7) was 41.2% lower than the national rate.

Motor Vehicle Traffic Death Rates, by Sex, Age Group, and Road User Type: United States, 1999–2019

March 18, 2021

A new NCHS report provides national trends in motor vehicle traffic deaths by sex, age group, and type of road user (i.e., motor vehicle occupant, motorcyclist, pedestrian, or pedal cyclist) from 1999 through 2019 using the latest mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System.


  • Motor vehicle traffic death rates were stable from 1999 to 2006, declined on average by 8% each year from 2006 (14.5 per 100,000) to 2010 (10.7), and then increased from 2010 through 2019 (11.1).
  • Among males, differences in the rates by age group diminished over time; by 2019, the rate for males aged 15–24, the group with the highest rate in 1999, was lower than the rate for males aged 25–64 and 65 and over.
  • Among females, rates for all age groups decreased from 1999 through 2019.
  • Rates for motor vehicle occupants decreased by 37% from 12.0 in 1999 to 7.6 in 2019.

Provisional Monthly Drug Overdose Deaths from August 2019 to August 2020

March 17, 2021

Today, NCHS released the next set of monthly provisional drug overdose death counts.

Provisional data show that the reported number of drug overdose deaths occurring in the United States increased by 25.1% from the 12 months ending in August 2019 to the 12 months ending in August 2020, from 68,371 to 85,516. 

After adjustments for delayed reporting, the predicted number of drug overdose deaths showed an increase of 26.8% from the 12 months ending in August 2019 to the 12 months ending in August 2020, from 69,640 to 88,295. 

The reported number of opioid-involved drug overdose deaths in the United States for the 12-month period ending in August 2020 (62,972) increased from 47,772 in the previous year. The predicted number of opioid-involved drug overdose deaths in the United States for the 12-month period ending in August 2020 (65,030) increased from 48,747 in the previous year.

Recent trends may still be partially due to incomplete data. The reported and predicted number of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids (excluding methadone; T40.4) and psychostimulants with abuse potential (T43.6) continued to increase compared to the previous year. Both reported and predicted overdose deaths involving cocaine increased compared to the previous year. The reported and predicted number of natural and semi-synthetic opioid deaths also increased compared to the previous year.

Urban-Rural Differences in Drug Overdose Death Rates, 1999-2019

March 17, 2021

Questions for Holly Hedegaard, Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Urban-Rural Differences in Drug Overdose Death Rates, 1999-2019.”

Q: How do drug overdose death rates in urban and rural areas compare?

HH: Over the past 20 years, rates of drug overdose deaths have increased in both urban and rural areas. Rates in rural areas were higher than in urban areas from 2007 through 2015, but in 2016 that pattern changed. From 2016 through 2019, rates have been higher in urban areas than in rural areas.

Although urban rates are higher than rural rates nationally, for 5 states (California, Connecticut, North Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia), rates are higher in rural areas than in urban areas.

Q: Is this the most recent data you have on this topic?  When do you plan on releasing 2020 data?

HH: Final 2020 data won’t be released until the end of 2021. In the interim, monthly provisional estimates of drug overdose death rates are available at

Q: Was there a specific finding in the data that surprised you from this report?

HH: In this report, we looked at trends in rates for drug overdose deaths involving certain types of opioids, including natural and semisynthetic opioids. This group includes such drugs as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and codeine – drugs that are often thought of as prescription opioids. In looking at the trends from 1999 through 2019, the rates of drug overdose deaths involving natural and semisynthetic opioids were higher in rural than in urban areas from 2004 through 2017, but in 2018 and 2019, the urban and rural rates were similar, because of a decline in the rates in rural areas. We will continue to monitor whether this decline in the rate continues.

Q: What is the take home message for this report?

HH: The key messages from this report are: 1) for the past 20 years, drug overdose death rates have increased in both urban and rural areas, and 2) there are urban-rural differences in the rates of drug overdose deaths involving specific types of drugs. For example, for the past 20 years, rates of drug overdose deaths involving cocaine or heroin have been consistently higher in urban areas than in rural areas. In contrast, in recent years, rates of drug overdose deaths involving psychostimulants (such as methamphetamine) have been higher in rural areas than in urban areas.

Q: Do you think rural counties will go back to having higher drug overdose death rates in the future?

HH: It’s impossible to predict what will happen in the future. While a lot of resources have been devoted to prevention and treatment of drug overdose in recent years, new drugs are becoming available all the time. NCHS will continue to monitor drug overdose deaths to identify patterns to help inform public health efforts.

QuickStats: Rates of Firearm-Related Deaths Among Persons Aged 15 Years or Older, by Selected Intent and Age Group

March 12, 2021

Among persons aged 15 years or older, for all firearm-related deaths (all intents), rates were highest among those aged 15–24 years (17.4 per 100,000).

For deaths involving firearm-related suicides, rates increased with age, from 6.6 among persons aged 15–24 years to 11.8 among those aged 65 years or older.

A different pattern was found for firearm-related homicides, in which rates decreased with age, from 10.2 among those aged 15–24 years to 0.9 among those aged 65 years or older.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System, Mortality Data, 2019.

U.S. State Life Tables, 2018

March 11, 2021

New NCHS report presents complete period life tables for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia by sex based on age-specific death rates in 2018.

Key Findings:

  • Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Hawaii had the highest life expectancy at birth, 81.0 years in 2018, and West Virginia had the lowest, 74.4 years.
  • Life expectancy at age 65 ranged from 17.5 years in Kentucky to 21.1 years in Hawaii.
  • Life expectancy at birth was higher for females in all states and the District of Columbia.
  • The difference in life expectancy between females and males ranged from 3.8 years in Utah to 6.2 years in New Mexico.

PODCAST: Suicide Trends in the U.S. and Weekly NCHS Updates

February 26, 2021


HOST:  Last week NCHS released the latest trend report on suicide rates in the nation.  Joining us today is Holly Hedegaard, the lead author of this new report.

Holly, so what do the latest final numbers tell us?

HOLLY HEDEGAARD:  Well the report that was just released from the National Center for Health Statistics looked at suicide rates over the last 20 years and what we saw was that from 1999 through 2018 there’s been a steady increase in the suicide rate – it increased about 35% over that time period. But what’s interesting is that in 2019 the rate is lower than it was in 2018 and that’s the first significant drop in suicide rates we’ve seen in the past 20 years.  While that’s an encouraging sign, I think it’s important to remember that a single year drop doesn’t necessarily say that’s a meaningful change in the overall trend is just that within a single year we saw a decrease in the suicide rates in 2019 compared to 2018

HOST:  Youth suicide in particular is a major concern.  What do the trends show among young people?

HOLLY HEDEGAARD:  So for young people suicide rates are actually lower than for other age groups – so that’s a good thing that the rates are lower – but what’s concerning is that these are the age groups where we’ve seen quite a bit of an increase in the suicide rates in recent years.  And so for example for girls who are age 10 to 14, their rates have increased about four-fold in the past 20 years, but their rates are still among the lowest of all the age and sex groups.  Rates have also increased for boys and for young men but not to the same extent as for girls.  And so again, for both boys and girls and for age 10 to 14 and ages 15 to 24, the rates are low but they are increasing – and I think that’s the reason of concern about suicide rates in young people.

HOST:  What groups have the highest suicide rates in the country?

HOLLY HEDEGAARD:  This report focuses on rates by sex and by age group, so the report looks at those particular characteristics, and the suicide rates are highest for men age 75 and older and that’s been true for a long period of time so the highest rates among men aged 75 and older.  For females the highest rates are for women ages 45 to 64 so it’s more of the middle-aged female when you look for high suicide rates among females.

HOST:  There aren’t full-year data available yet for 2020, but mental health professionals worry that the stress and isolation from the pandemic will result in a spike in suicide rates.  Do you have any insight at all about 2020 at this point?

HOLLY HEDEGAARD:  As you mentioned, we don’t have any of the final data for 2020 yet so we can’t give a definitive answer but NCHS has been generating from provisional estimates to try to get a sense of what has been happening during 2020.  And NCHS has posted some provisional estimates for the first quarter of 2020 – which it goes through March of 2020 – and as of the beginning of last year the rate, the suicide rate, was slightly higher than the rate during the comparable time period in 2019.  So a slight increase in the first quarter.  NCHS has been developing some additional modeling techniques to look at the trends in a variety of different types of deaths including drug overdose, suicide, and transportation related deaths during the early months of 2020, and based on that modeling technique the predicted weekly numbers of suicide deaths early 2020 were similar to historic levels, and then declined a little bit between March and June, and then again was pretty much no different than historic levels from July through October.  So based on these model estimates, that suggested there hasn’t really been a spike in suicide mortality, at least in the first half of 2020.  But it’s important to recognize that these are modeled estimates – these are not final numbers, they aren’t the final rates – and we’ll continue to be refining and confirming these estimates as NCHS receives more data for the deaths that occurred in 2020.  So as of now, we don’t have anything that looks like there’s been a huge increase in suicide during 2020 but that’s again based on modeled estimates.

HOST:  Your report looks at the different mechanisms used in suicides in the U.S.  What do those numbers tell us?

HOLLY HEDEGAARD:  The means of suicide varies by males compared to females, and for males about little over half of the suicides involve use of a firearm and about 28% involve hanging or suffocation… A much smaller proportion involved poisoning or other means. We’ve seen a slight increase in the rates for firearm-related suicides among men over the past 20 years but where there’s been a rather large increase has been in the rate for suicide by hanging or suffocation.  That rate among men has doubled over the last 20 years.  The picture for women is a little bit different.  From about 2001 through 2015, poisoning was the leading means of suicide among women.  But Interestingly in the last few years, since about 2016, we’ve actually seen a decline in the rate of suicide by poisoning among women and an increase in the rate of suicides that involve firearms or suffocation.  And so in the most recent years, the rates of suicide by firearm and by suffocation are slightly higher than the rate of suicide by poisoning.  The rate of suicide by suffocation among females has actually tripled in the past 20 years.

HOST:  Now by poisoning are you referring to drug overdoses?

HOLLY HEDEGAARD:  No, poisoning is actually a broader terminology that includes drug poisoning, but it also includes other types of poisons like carbon monoxide or chemicals or a variety of other things that sometimes people ingest or take. But they aren’t drugs there are used for other purposes.

HOST:  So your data then show that drug overdoses are really not a significant method used in suicides?

HOLLY HEDEGAARD:  It’s different – again, as I mentioned – for men or for women.  For men, only about 5% of suicide actually involve a drug overdose.  For women, it’s about 27% of their suicides involve a drug overdose.  So they’re not the, drug overdoses are not the leading means of suicide for either men or women.  For both men and women, rates of firearm-related suicide or suicide by hanging and suffocation are higher than the rates of suicide by drug overdose.

HOST:  This report doesn’t look at geographical differences but what areas of the country are having a tougher time with this problem?

HOLLY HEDEGAARD:  So the higher suicide rates are found in the Rocky Mountain states such as Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, as well as Alaska.  So these are states that have historically been high and they continue to remain high.  In the most current years or recent years, we’ve seen increase in the rates in some of the other states in the Midwest and in the New England states, up in Maine and Vermont and New Hampshire.  They aren’t the highest rates but they are increasing, so it’s important to sort of recognize that there are states in addition to the Rocky Mountain stage that also are seeing higher suicide rates.

HOST:   The National Health Interview Survey issued two new reports, on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.  On Tuesday, NCHS teamed with the VA on a report that examined multiple chronic conditions among veterans and non-veterans.  Based on data from the 2015-2018 NHIS, the study authors found that about one-half of male veterans and over one-third of female veterans had two or more chronic conditions, compared with less than one-fourth of male nonveterans and less than one-fifth of female nonveterans.  Hypertension and arthritis were the most prevalent chronic conditions among all veterans age 25 and over.  Diabetes was also prevalent among male veterans ages 25 to 64 and asthma was also prevalent among female veterans in this age group.  Cancer was also prevalent among all veterans age 65 and older.

On Wednesday, NCHS released another study looking at health care utilization among those afflicted with inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD.  The study used NHIS data and found that adults with IBD were more likely than those without IBD to have visited any doctor or mental health provider in the past year, and were also more likely to have been prescribed medication or to have received acute care services such as ER visits, overnight hospital stays, or surgeries.

On Thursday, NCHS released a third study – on dietary supplement use among American adults age 20 and over.  The report used data from the 2017-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and found that over half of adults used a dietary supplement in the past month – nearly two-thirds /3 of women and just over half of men.  Eight out of ten women age 60 and over used dietary supplements, and older Americans are more likely to use more than one dietary supplement.   The most common dietary supplement used was multivitamin-mineral supplements.  Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplements were also commonly used.

Finally, today NCHS is releasing the latest quarterly provisional data on birth rates in the United States, through the third quarter of 2020, showing that fertility rates in the country continued to drop compared to the same point in 2019.  Teen birth rates and pre-term rates also declined in Quarter 3 of 2020 compared with Quarter 3 of 2019, while cesarean delivery rates increased over this period.


QuickStats: Motor-Vehicle–Traffic Death Rates Among Persons Aged 15–24 Years and ≥25 Years — United States, 2000–2019

February 26, 2021

From 2000 to 2006, rates of death caused by motor-vehicle–traffic injuries among persons aged 15–24 years and ≥25 years did not change significantly.

From 2006 to 2010, motor-vehicle–traffic death rates per 100,000 population declined among those aged 15–24 years, from 25.1 (2006) to 16.1 (2010), and among those aged ≥25 years, from 15.9 (2006) to 12.5 (2010).

Throughout most of the period, motor-vehicle–traffic death rates were higher among persons aged 15–24 years; however, motor-vehicle–traffic death rates began to converge in more recent years, and by 2019, the difference in the rate among those aged 15–24 years (13.7) and those aged ≥25 years (13.6) was not statistically significant.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System, Mortality Data, 2000–2019.

QuickStats: Death Rates Attributed to Excessive Cold or Hypothermia† Among Persons Aged15 Years or older, by Urban-Rural Status and Age Group

February 19, 2021

In 2019, among persons aged 15 years or older, death rates attributed to excessive cold or hypothermia were higher in rural areas than in urban areas across every age group.

Crude rates were lowest among those aged 15–34 years at 0.2 and 0.5 per 100,000 population in urban and rural areas, respectively.

Rates increased with age, with the highest rates among those aged 85 years or older at 4.6 in urban areas and 8.6 in rural areas. Differences between urban and rural rates also increased with age.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System, Mortality Data 2019.