DefinitionThe number of resident deaths per 100,000 population age-adjusted to the US 2000 standard population
NumeratorThe number of resident deaths
DenominatorTotal number of persons in the population
Why Is This Important?Age-adjusted death rates are constructs that show what the level of mortality would be if no changes occurred in the age composition of the population from year to year. Age-adjusted death rates are better than crude death rates as indicators of relative risk when comparing mortality across geographic areas or between gender or racial/ethnic subgroups of the population that have different age compositions.
How Are We Doing?The age-adjusted death rate had been decreasing fairly steadily until the opioid crisis took hold in 2017. The decline resumed in 2018 and 2019 but the COVID-19 pandemic caused New Jersey's age-adjusted death rate to climb 26.7% between 2019 and 2020, reaching a level not seen in twenty years.
Between 2019 and 2020, the age-adjusted death rate rose 70.1% among Hispanics, 50.8% among Asians, 39.5% among Blacks, and 17.4% among Whites. Despite the wide variation in these increases, the rate remained highest among Blacks, followed in order by Whites, Hispanics, and Asians. In 2020, the age-adjusted death rate among Blacks was 1.4 times the rate among Whites (up from 1.2 in 2019), 1.5 times the rate among Hispanics (down from 1.8 in 2019), and 2.5 times the rate among Asians (down from 2.7 in 2019).
The age-adjusted death rate among males was 1.5 times the rate among females in 2020. The rate rose 29.2% among males and 23.5% among females between 2019 and 2020.
Rates varied across New Jersey counties from a low of 592.8 in Hunterdon County to a high of 1,105.6 in Cumberland County.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?The New Jersey and US age-adjusted death rates were about the same until the mid-to late-1990s when the New Jersey rate dropped below that of the US. However, in 2020, New Jersey's rate rose to meet the US rate due to the early onset of COVID-19 in New Jersey.