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Complete Health Indicator Report of Leading Causes of Death


Deaths due to underlying causes of death eligible to be ranked as leading causes of death based on National Center for Health Statistics standards


Number of deaths due to a particular underlying cause


Percent: Total number of deaths due to all causes; Rate: Number of persons in the population

Why Is This Important?

Analysis of mortality by cause is essential for the development of prevention strategies.

How Are We Doing?

Heart disease remained the leading cause of death in New Jersey and the US in 2021. COVID-19 dropped to third and cancer rose back to second, where it was ranked before the pandemic. These three causes together accounted for half of deaths in the US and in New Jersey. Unintentional injury, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases (CLRD), Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, septicemia, and kidney disease rounded out the remainder of the ten leading causes of death for New Jersey. For each year of 2009-2014, the leading causes of death had been, in order, heart disease, cancer, stroke, CLRD, unintentional injury, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, septicemia, kidney disease, and influenza/pneumonia. In 2015, fueled by the opioid overdose epidemic, unintentional injury replaced CLRD as the fourth leading cause of death. Alzheimer's disease and septicemia overtook diabetes in positions 6 through 8. In 2016, unintentional injury replaced stroke as the third leading cause of death and diabetes switched places with septicemia to become the seventh leading cause of death. In 2018, diabetes switched places with septicemia again. The ten leading causes of death in New Jersey remained the same in 2019 as in 2018. [ Table of leading causes of death for each year, 2000-2021]

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis was the ninth leading cause of death in the US in 2021, but was 12th in New Jersey. New Jersey's ninth leading cause of death, septicemia, was 14th in the US in 2021. The other leading causes of death are in the Top 10 in both New Jersey and the US. The age-adjusted death rates in 2021 for New Jersey's ten leading causes of death were lower than those of the US for each cause except septicemia and kidney disease.

Related Indicators

Health Status Outcomes

There are also indicator profiles for leading causes of death by age, race/ethnicity, and gender. These are accessible on the [ Mortality and Leading Causes of Death] page.

Related Health Status Outcomes Indicators:

Data Tables

Leading Causes of Death: Counts and Percentages, New Jersey, 2021

Cause of DeathPercent of DeathsNumer- ator
Record Count: 12
Heart Disease22.0%18,553
Unintentional Injury6.1%5,136
Alzheimer's Disease2.9%2,404
Kidney Disease2.0%1,647
All Other Causes26.4%22,199

Data Source

Death Certificate Database, Office of Vital Statistics and Registry, New Jersey Department of Health

Leading Causes of Death: Age-Adjusted Rates, New Jersey and the U.S., 2021

US/NJCause of DeathDeaths per 100,000 Standardized PopulationLower LimitUpper LimitNumer- ator
Record Count: 22
USHeart Disease173.8173.4174.2695,547
USUnintentional Injury64.764.465.0224,935
USAlzheimer's Disease31.030.831.1119,399
USKidney Disease13.613.413.754,358
NJHeart Disease157.9155.4160.518,553
NJUnintentional Injury52.250.853.75,136
NJAlzheimer's Disease20.719.721.62,404
NJKidney Disease14.113.314.91,647

Data Sources

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death File. CDC WONDER On-line Database accessed at []
  • Death Certificate Database, Office of Vital Statistics and Registry, New Jersey Department of Health
  • Population Estimates, [ State Data Center], New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

References and Community Resources

U.S. Statistics, Data, and Related Documentation are available from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics on these websites: *National Vital Statistics System: [] *Mortality Data: [] *Datasets and Related Documentation for Mortality Data: [] *Instruction Manuals: [] Additional NJ COVID-19 Mortality Data: []

Page Content Updated On 07/11/2023, Published on 07/11/2023
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Mon, 04 March 2024 16:40:52 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

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