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Health Indicator Report of Leading Causes of Death

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

Data Source

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


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

How Are We Doing?

The ten leading causes of death in New Jersey remained the same in 2018 as in 2017. Heart disease is the leading cause of death and cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US, New Jersey, and each NJ county, except Hunterdon where the two causes are tied for first place. Together, these two causes of death account for nearly half of all deaths each year. Unintentional injury, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases (CLRD), Alzheimer's disease, septicemia (sepsis), diabetes, kidney disease, and influenza/pneumonia round 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 (sepsis), 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. [ Table of leading causes of death for each year, 2000-2018]

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US, but is 13th 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 2018 for New Jersey's ten leading causes of death are lower than those of the U.S. for each cause except unintentional injury, septicemia, and kidney disease.
Page Content Updated On 03/18/2020, Published on 03/18/2020
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 Thu, 29 October 2020 22:28:32 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

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