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South Carolina Mortality Rates

Mortality Rates South Carolina

Mortality Rates in South Carolina

  • South Carolina Population: 5,148,714 (23rd highest)
  • Population Density: 167.01 per square mile (19th most dense)
  • Median Age: 40.1 (12th oldest)
  • Deaths Per Year:  50,640
  • Annual Deaths Per 100,000: 996.0
  • Life Expectancy at Birth:  76.5
  • Fertility Rate (births per 1,000 women age 15-44):  58 (22nd lowest rate)

Leading Causes of Death in South Carolina

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


10,579 164 19th


10,487 154 14th
Accidents (includes vehicle accidents)


3,336 62.1 11th
Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases (e.g., emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma)


2,899 43.1 21st


2,703 42.2 6th
Alzheimer’s Disease


2,323 37.9 11th


1,610 24.4 13th
Kidney Disease (nephritis, nephrosis, nephrotic syndrome)


1,010 15.6 15th


896 13.6 8th
Liver Disease / Cirrhosis


826 12.8 18th
Pneumonia + Flu


686 10.8 38th


852 16.2 24th
Drug Overdose


1,127 22.7 22nd


527 11 5th

Population Statistics

Over the past twenty years, South Carolina has added more than a million new residents. The state’s 11.3% rate of population growth during the last decade is 10th highest among U.S. states and nearly double the overall national rate. Even so, South Carolina’s fertility rate is below the overall rate nationally and 22nd lowest in the U.S. (tied with Georgia).

With a median age of 40.1 years, South Carolina is tied with Michigan for 12th oldest state.

South Carolina’s overall annual mortality rate per 100,000 population is the nation’s 11th highest in real terms and when adjusted for population age. At 76.5 years, South Carolina’s life expectancy at birth is 9th

South Carolina’s infant mortality rate is the nation’s 9th highest, at 6.97 deaths per 1,000 live births (tied with Ohio). South Carolina has the 7th and 8th highest rates of low-birthweight and preterm births, respectively.

Health Conditions

South Carolina has the nation’s 6th highest mortality rate due to stroke and 8th highest for septicemia (blood poisoning illnesses). While South Carolina’s death rates are above the national average for most health-related causes of death, the state’s annual pneumonia and flu mortality rate is consistently well-below the national rate.

For these reasons and more, we here at IBUSA will typically try to help applicants from South Carolina first qualify  for term life insurance with no exam.

For those that won’t be able to qualify for such a policy, getting life insurance with a top company requiring a medical exam is still a viable option.

Finally, some people with pre-existing conditions may need to consider final expense insurance as an alternative.

Homicides, Suicides and Firearms

With a rate of 11 homicides per 100,000 people, South Carolina has the nation’s 5th highest homicide rate and is consistently among the top ten states for violent crime. South Carolina’s suicide rate is closer to the middle at 22nd highest, though still well-above the national rate. For all firearm-related deaths, South Carolina ranks 8th

Lifestyle Choices

Adults in South Carolina have the 10th highest rate of obesity and 17th highest rate of smoking (tied with Montana).


Through August, 2021, South Carolina’s COVID-19 mortality rate of 194 per 100,000 is 21st highest in the U.S. and about 5% above the national rate.


South Carolina’s vehicle mortality rate of 19.3 per 100,000 makes it the nation’s 3rd most dangerous state for motorists (behind Mississippi and Alabama).  For this reason alone we’ll often recommend that our clients at least consider purchasing an additional accidental death policy as a way to supplement any traditional life insurance coverage they may already have.


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, 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).

New York Times, Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count (Aug. 12, 2021).

Natl. Safety Council, Motor-Vehicle Deaths by State (2019).

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

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