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Kentucky Mortality Rates

Mortality in Kentucky

  • Kentucky Population: 4,467,673 (26th highest)
  • Population Density: 113.37 per square mile (22nd most dense)
  • Median Age: 39.2 (21st oldest)
  • Deaths Per Year: 48,707
  • Annual Deaths Per 100,000: 1,090
  • Life Expectancy at Birth:  75.3
  • Fertility Rate (births per 1,000 women age 15-44):  62.6 (14th highest rate)

Leading Causes of Death in Kentucky

Cause of Death Deaths Per Year Deaths Per 100,000 National Rank
Heart Disease


10,742 196.4 9th


9,975 176.4 2nd
Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases (e.g., emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma)


3,517 62.4 2nd
Accidents (includes vehicle accidents)


3,121 68.1 4th


2,296 42.5 5th
Alzheimer’s Disease


1,684 32.1 27th


1,611 29.1 4th
Kidney Disease (nephritis, nephrosis, nephrotic syndrome)


997 18.2 4th


918 16.7 4th
Liver Disease / Cirrhosis


750 13.7 13th
Pneumonia + Flu


850 15.7 9th


756 16.5 22nd
Drug Overdose


1,380 32.5 7th


250 5.9 21st

Population Statistics

With a rate of 1,090.2 deaths per year, Kentucky has the 4th highest mortality rate among U.S. states (behind West Virginia, Alabama, and Maine). Adjusted for age, Kentucky’s mortality rate is 3rd highest (behind West Virginia and Mississippi). Kentucky’s average life expectancy of 75.3 years is 4th

Kentucky has the nation’s 14th highest fertility rate, and its 2019 infant mortality rate was 16th Nonetheless, Kentucky’s 3% rate of population growth from 2010 to 2019 was less than half the overall national rate.

Health Conditions

Kentucky is among the ten states with the highest rates of most major health-related causes of death—including heart disease (9th), chronic respiratory illnesses (2nd), stroke (5th), and diabetes (4th). Kentucky’s rate of hypertension deaths was the nation’s 15th lowest (tied with Hawaii), at 7.1 per 100,000.

For these reasons and more, we here at IBUSA will typically try to help applicants from Kentucky first qualify  for a no medical exam term life insurance  when possible, and for those that won’t be able to qualify for such a policy, fully underwritten life insurance policies and guaranteed issue life insurance policies may still be an option.

Homicides, Suicides and Firearms

With 5.9 homicides per 100,000 population, Kentucky is tied with Arizona and Texas for 21st highest rate. For all violent crime, Kentucky is the 7th best-rated state in the country. For all firearm-related deaths, Kentucky is 17th highest, with 14.9 deaths per 100,000.

Kentucky’s suicide rate is 22nd highest among U.S. states, and Kentucky has the nation’s 7th highest rate of drug-overdose deaths.


Kentucky’s COVID-19 death rate for 2020 was 75 per 100,000—which was 20th lowest among U.S. states. Through August, 2021, Kentucky’s COVID death rate was 21st lowest, at 170 per 100,000.


Adults in Kentucky have the nation’s 2nd and 6th highest rates of smoking and obesity, respectively. Kentucky is rated the nation’s 2nd least healthy state for exercise and nutrition.


U.S. Dept of Ag., Economic Research Service, https://data.ers.usda.gov/reports.aspx?ID=17827 (citing U.S. Census Bureau, 2019).

Statista, Population Density in the U.S. by Federal States Including District of Columbia in 2020 (2020).

StatsAmerica (Ind. Bus. Research Center), Median Age in 2019.

CDC, Natl. Center for Health Statistics, State & Territorial Data (2018 – 2019).

Kaiser Family Foundation, Number of Deaths per 100,000 Population (2019).

CDC, Natl. Center for Health Statistics, Life Expectancy at Birth by State (2018).

CDC, Natl. Center for Health Statistics, Fertility Rates by State (2019).

CDC, Natl. Center for Health Statistics, Stats of the States (2021).

CDC, Natl. Center for Health Statistics, Provisional Death Rates for COVID-19 (2020).

New York Times, Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count (Aug. 24, 2021).

CDC, State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System, Map of Current Cigarette Use Among Adults (2018).

Statista, Percentage of Adults with Obesity in the United States as of 2019 (2019).

United Health Foundation, America’s Health Rankings, 2020 Annual Report: Kentucky.

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