States Ranked by Age-Adjusted COVID Deaths

Data table updated on October 20, 2021

In the time of COVID, the average American citizen is inundated with statistics regarding deaths, cases, and vaccine uptake from a variety of sources. Frequently media outlets will cherry pick data that appear to support their opinions on public health policy. As a result, you may find analyses that seemingly contradict each other.

One such example concerns deaths from COVID-19. This metric is often used to determine how effective a state’s health mandates are in controlling the pandemic. Although these statistics are usually adjusted for state population, displayed as deaths per 100,000, they aren’t adjusted for the age distribution of a state. It’s important to adjust for age when trying to make sense of state-to-state differences in outcomes as age is the dominant risk factor for death provided someone is infected with COVID, and state age distributions vary considerably. In the following analysis, we present age-adjusted cumulative COVID-19 deaths and rank each state accordingly. We intend to update the following plot and data table regularly as new data become available. 

 

 

Bubble sizes reflect state populations and the horizontal arrangement is arbitrary.

Here we see dramatic state-to-state differences in cumulative age-adjusted COVID deaths per capita to date. In the end, some states that adopted dramatically divergent policies had comparable outcomes. Yet, a few regions have fared markedly better than the rest. 

Mississippi is exceptionally high, and several states are especially low in the Pacific NW, Alaska, Hawaii, and the part of New England north of Massachusetts (MA itself is average). Among large states, Texas is high, New York & Georgia are higher than average, and California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois are average.

 

Age-Adjusted COVID Deaths Ranking

State

COVID-19 Deaths per 100,000

Age-Adjusted COVID-19 Deaths per 100,000

1 Mississippi 342 350
2 Texas 251 300
3 Alabama 304 299
4 Louisiana 274 285
4 Oklahoma 278 285
6 New Jersey 291 281
6 New York 296 281
8 Tennessee 268 271
9 Arkansas 277 269
10 District of Columbia 225 266
11 Nevada 250 265
12 Georgia 229 262
13 South Carolina 251 245
14 Arizona 255 242
15 Indiana 236 241
15 North Dakota 251 241
17 South Dakota 254 239
18 Rhode Island 265 235
19 Kentucky 230 233
20 Missouri 238 228
21 Florida 263 222
21 New Mexico 230 222
23 Connecticut 243 216
24 Ohio 227 215
25 Pennsylvania 243 211
26 Kansas 209 204
27 California 187 200
28 Iowa 218 197
29 Illinois 196 195
29 Massachusetts 208 195
31 Idaho 182 193
32 Maryland 187 192
32 Michigan 201 192
34 Montana 207 190
35 North Carolina 184 187
36 Delaware 203 185
36 West Virginia 212 185
38 Wyoming 171 172
39 Nebraska 173 170
40 Colorado 143 166
41 Virginia 155 162
42 Wisconsin 163 154
43 Minnesota 151 148
44 Utah 102 138
45 Alaska 87 117
46 Washington 102 108
47 New Hampshire 111 101
48 Oregon 103 99
49 Maine 90 75
50 Hawaii 62 55
51 Vermont 50 43

Citations

COVID deaths from CDC: “Provisional COVID-19 Death Counts by Sex, Age, and State” (Updated on October 20, 2021)

Population data from U.S. Census Bureau: “State Population by Characteristics: 2010-2019”