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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 the US, New Jersey, and 16 of its 21 counties in 2020. COVID-19 was the second leading cause of death in NJ, third in the nation, and was the leading cause of death in five northeastern NJ counties. Cancer rounded out the top three causes of death. These three causes together accounted for 49% of deaths in the US, 54% of deaths in NJ, and 48%-58% of deaths in each NJ county in 2020. 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, 2000-2020]

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Influenza and pneumonia was the ninth leading cause of death in the US in 2020, but was 11th in New Jersey. New Jersey's 8th leading cause of death, septicemia, was 15th in the US in 2020. The other leading causes of death are in the Top 10 in both New Jersey and the US. The age-adjusted death rates in 2020 for New Jersey's ten leading causes of death were lower than those of the US for each cause except COVID-19, 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, 2020

Cause of DeathPercent of DeathsNumer- ator
Record Count: 12
Heart Disease20.5%19,716
Unintentional Injury5.0%4,777
Alzheimer's Disease2.8%2,673
Kidney Disease1.7%1,670
All Other Causes24.9%23,929

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., 2020

US/NJCause of DeathDeaths per 100,000 Standardized PopulationLower LimitUpper LimitNumer- ator
Record Count: 22
USHeart Disease168.2167.8168.6696,962
USUnintentional Injury57.657.357.8200,955
USAlzheimer's Disease32.432.332.6134,242
USKidney Disease12.712.612.852,547
NJHeart Disease166.1163.4168.719,715
NJUnintentional Injury50.549.152.04,776
NJAlzheimer's Disease22.021.123.02,673
NJKidney Disease14.313.515.11,670

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

Leading Causes of Death: Percentages by County of Residence, New Jersey, 2020

Leading Causes of DeathCountyPercent of DeathsNoteNumer- atorDenom- inator
Record Count: 69
Heart DiseaseAtlantic23.4%Rank = 17753,306
Heart DiseaseBergen19.7%Rank = 21,8449,342
Heart DiseaseBurlington21.2%Rank = 11,0204,809
Heart DiseaseCamden19.7%Rank = 11,1625,908
Heart DiseaseCape May26.7%Rank = 13841,437
Heart DiseaseCumberland23.2%Rank = 14441,913
Heart DiseaseEssex18.1%Rank = 21,5958,802
Heart DiseaseGloucester21.2%Rank = 16993,295
Heart DiseaseHudson18.7%Rank = 21,0895,831
Heart DiseaseHunterdon24.3%Rank = 12691,106
Heart DiseaseMercer20.1%Rank = 17633,788
Heart DiseaseMiddlesex19.4%Rank = 11,5317,878
Heart DiseaseMonmouth21.0%Rank = 11,4396,858
Heart DiseaseMorris20.1%Rank = 11,0085,008
Heart DiseaseOcean26.1%Rank = 12,2638,656
Heart DiseasePassaic17.6%Rank = 29605,441
Heart DiseaseSalem23.8%Rank = 1221930
Heart DiseaseSomerset18.4%Rank = 15693,100
Heart DiseaseSussex20.6%Rank = 13181,543
Heart DiseaseUnion18.5%Rank = 21,0755,801
Heart DiseaseWarren23.2%Rank = 12881,242
Heart DiseaseNew Jersey20.5%Rank = 119,71695,994
Heart DiseaseUnited States20.6%Rank = 1696,9623,383,729
COVID-19Atlantic8.6%Rank = 32843,306
COVID-19Bergen21.0%Rank = 11,9589,342
COVID-19Burlington10.9%Rank = 35254,809
COVID-19Camden11.9%Rank = 37025,908
COVID-19Cape May7.9%Rank = 31131,437
COVID-19Cumberland9.5%Rank = 31811,913
COVID-19Essex23.4%Rank = 12,0598,802
COVID-19Gloucester10.3%Rank = 33393,295
COVID-19Hudson25.9%Rank = 11,5125,831
COVID-19Hunterdon13.1%Rank = 31451,106
COVID-19Mercer15.9%Rank = 36033,788
COVID-19Middlesex18.5%Rank = 21,4577,878
COVID-19Monmouth13.5%Rank = 39246,858
COVID-19Morris16.7%Rank = 38345,008
COVID-19Ocean13.2%Rank = 31,1428,656
COVID-19Passaic24.8%Rank = 11,3475,441
COVID-19Salem9.9%Rank = 392930
COVID-19Somerset17.1%Rank = 25293,100
COVID-19Sussex14.3%Rank = 32201,543
COVID-19Union23.8%Rank = 11,3815,801
COVID-19Warren11.9%Rank = 31481,242
COVID-19New Jersey17.2%Rank = 216,49595,994
COVID-19United States10.4%Rank = 3350,8313,383,729
CancerAtlantic18.6%Rank = 26153,306
CancerBergen16.3%Rank = 31,5269,342
CancerBurlington17.9%Rank = 28614,809
CancerCamden16.7%Rank = 29875,908
CancerCape May18.0%Rank = 22581,437
CancerCumberland16.8%Rank = 23211,913
CancerEssex12.5%Rank = 31,1008,802
CancerGloucester19.2%Rank = 26343,295
CancerHudson12.9%Rank = 37545,831
CancerHunterdon20.7%Rank = 22291,106
CancerMercer16.7%Rank = 26333,788
CancerMiddlesex16.2%Rank = 31,2747,878
CancerMonmouth17.7%Rank = 21,2146,858
CancerMorris16.9%Rank = 28445,008
CancerOcean17.8%Rank = 21,5388,656
CancerPassaic14.2%Rank = 37715,441
CancerSalem17.2%Rank = 2160930
CancerSomerset16.8%Rank = 35213,100
CancerSussex18.2%Rank = 22811,543
CancerUnion14.0%Rank = 38105,801
CancerWarren18.8%Rank = 22331,242
CancerNew Jersey16.2%Rank = 315,56495,994
CancerUnited States17.8%Rank = 2602,3503,383,729

Data Notes

The data table column "Other" shows the ranking as a leading cause of death within the county.

Data Source

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

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 10/17/2022, Published on 10/27/2022
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 Tue, 07 February 2023 19:43:35 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

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