Where Are You Most Likely To Die Early in the United States (and Why)?

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Every three minutes, someone in America dies from a preventable, injury-related death. This translates to roughly 20 premature deaths in one hour. This shocking statistic serves as the starting point for a study by NYRequirements.com, which explores where and why people are dying too soon across the U.S. The study looks into the main reasons behind these early deaths, such as accidents, heart disease, and cancer, calculating how many years of life are lost before reaching the age of 75, per 100,000 people.

Here are the 10 U.S. states where you are most likely to die early, along with the reasons why.

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10. Oklahoma

Years of Potential Life Lost: 10,873

Leading Causes for Death: Heart Disease: 67,265 (17.5%); Cancer: 60,583 (15.8%); Unintentional Injury: 57,036 (14.9%)

Oklahoma’s early mortality rate is heavily influenced by heart disease and cancer, with unintentional injuries also playing a major role. The state struggles with high rates of smoking, obesity, and diabetes, which contribute to its health challenges. 

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9. South Carolina

Years of Potential Life Lost: 11,654

Leading Causes for Death: Unintentional Injury: 161,224 (21.9%); Heart Disease: 113,454 (15.4%); Cancer: 106,469 (14.5%)

South Carolina’s premature death rate is particularly impacted by unintentional injuries, cancer, and heart disease. The state also has high rates of homicide and suicide.

Editor’s note: If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or a crisis, please reach out immediately to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which offers 24/7 call, text, and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use, and/or mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also call, text, or chat 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

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8. Arkansas

Years of Potential Life Lost: 11,545

Leading Causes for Death: Heart Disease: 53,349 (17.0%); Unintentional Injury: 46,603 (14.8%); Cancer: 45,774 (14.6%)

In Arkansas, heart disease is the cause of early death, followed by unintentional injuries and cancer. The state’s high obesity rate at 37.4% is a contributing factor to its residents’ cardiovascular health issues.

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7. Tennessee

Years of Potential Life Lost: 11,654

Leading Causes for Death: Unintentional Injury: 161,224 (21.9%); Heart Disease: 113,454 (15.4%); Cancer: 106,469 (14.5%)

Tennessee’s high premature death rate is driven by unintentional injuries, heart disease, and cancer. The state also faces challenges with opioid addiction and obesity.

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6. New Mexico

Years of Potential Life Lost: 11,896

Leading Causes for Death: Unintentional Injury: 47,506 (21.2%); Cancer 23,404 (10.4%); COVID-19: 21,389 (9.5%)

Unintentional injuries, including drug overdoses, are the leading cause of early death in New Mexico, along with cancer and heart disease. 

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5. Kentucky

Years of Potential Life Lost: 11,942

Leading Causes for Death: Unintentional Injury: 108,174 (22.2%); Cancer: 76,038 (15.6%); Heart Disease: 75,628 (15.5%)

Kentucky confronts significant health challenges, especially from unintentional injuries, which include drug overdoses as well as diseases like cancer and heart disease. Tobacco use — with 21.4% of adults identified as smokers, according to 2020 data — along with poor dietary habits significantly contributes to the state’s health issues.

Image Credit: Thomas Kelley.

4. Alabama

Years of Potential Life Lost: 11,942

Leading Causes for Death: Heart Disease: 95,115 (17.5%); Unintentional Injuries: 80,440 (14.8%); Cancer: 77,283 (14.2%)

Heart disease is the leading cause of early death in Alabama, closely followed by unintentional injuries and cancer. The state’s high obesity rate, at 38.3%, along with diabetes, significantly contributes to its cardiovascular disease burden.

Image Credit: Sean Pavone.

3. Louisiana

Years of Potential Life Lost: 12,377

Leading Causes for Death: Unintentional Injury: 105,706 (20.2%); Heart Disease: 81,062 (15.5%); Cancer: 69,363 (13.3%)

Louisiana’s premature death rates are heavily influenced by unintentional injuries, heart disease, and cancer. The state has one of the highest homicide rates, with 19.9 homicides per 100,000 people contributing to its early mortality rate.

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2. West Virginia

Years of Potential Life Lost: 13,072

Leading Causes for Death: Unintentional Injury: 55,673 (26.1%); Cancer: 32,944 (15.4%); Heart Disease: 27,529 (12.9%)

In West Virginia, the high rate of premature death is largely due to unintentional injuries, including drug overdoses, which at 57.8 per 100,000 is the nation’s highest. Cancer and heart disease also contribute to the state’s early mortality rate. 

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1. Mississippi

Years of Potential Life Lost: 13,781

Leading Causes for Death: Heart Disease: 60,493 (16.4%); Unintentional Injury: 58,930 (15.9%); Cancer: 50,677 (13.7%)

Mississippi leads the nation in years of potential life lost before age 75, with a significant portion attributed to heart disease and unintentional injuries. The state struggles with high rates of obesity and physical inactivity, while unintentional injuries are also a major concern.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

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