DefinitionDeaths due to underlying causes of death eligible to be ranked as leading causes of death based on National Center for Health Statistics standards
NumeratorNumber of deaths due to a particular underlying cause
DenominatorPercent: 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?The ten leading causes of death in New Jersey remained the same in 2019 as in 2018.
Heart disease was the leading cause of death and cancer was the second leading cause of death in the US, New Jersey, and each NJ county, except Hunterdon where cancer was #1. Together, these two causes of death account for nearly half of all deaths in a typical year.
Unintentional injury, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases (CLRD), Alzheimer's disease, septicemia, diabetes, kidney disease, and influenza/pneumonia 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.
[https://www-doh.state.nj.us/doh-shad/view/sharedstatic/LCODtable.pdf Table of leading causes of death for each year, 2000-2019]
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the US in 2019, but was 14th in New Jersey. New Jersey's 7th leading cause of death, septicemia, was 12th in the US in 2018. The other leading causes of death are in the Top 10 in both New Jersey and the US.
The age-adjusted death rates in 2019 for New Jersey's ten leading causes of death were lower than those of the US for each cause except septicemia and kidney disease. The age-adjusted death rate due to unintentional injuries was the same for NJ and the US as a whole in 2019.