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West Virginia Mortality Rates

Mortality Rates in West Virginia

Mortality Rates in West Virginia

  • West Virginia Population: 1,792,147 (37th highest)
  • Population Density: 107.7 per square mile (23rd most dense)
  • Median Age:  42.9 years old (4th oldest)
  • Deaths Per Year:  23,478 deaths per year
  • Annual Deaths Per 100,000: 1,300.1
  • Life Expectancy at Birth:  74.4
  • Fertility Rate (births per 1,000 women age 15-44):  57.6 (19th lowest rate)

Leading Causes of Death in West Virginia

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


5,087 197.4 8th


4,604 175 3rd
Accidents (includes vehicle accidents)


1,859 96.9 1st
Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases (e.g., emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma)


1,673 62 3rd


1,035 40.2 15th


952 36.2 1st
Alzheimer’s Disease


832 32.3 25th
Liver Disease / Cirrhosis


394 16.9 4th
Kidney Disease (nephritis, nephrosis, nephrotic syndrome)


421 16.2 11th
Pneumonia + Flu


402 16.1 7th


359 14.2 7th


330 18.5 14th
Drug Overdose


870 52.8 1st


92 5.7 24th

Population Statistics

West Virginia’s 1,300 annual deaths per 100,000 population is highest among U.S. states, and the state’s average life expectancy of 74.4 years is lowest.

West Virginia’s infant mortality rate is 6.3 deaths per 1,000, 16th highest among U.S. states.

West Virginia’s rates of most health-related causes of death are in the top ten highest in the nation—including heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory illnesses, liver disease, and diabetes. West Virginia’s Alzheimer’s rate is below the national average.

As a result, we here at IBUSA have found that not all West Virginia applicants will be able to qualify for life insurance with no medical exam given the relative health of this states population.

As for those that can’t it may still be possible to qualify for life insurance policies that require medical exams and/or guaranteed issue life insurance policies.

Accidental Deaths

West Virginia has the highest accident mortality rate among U.S. states. Transportation-related deaths are the most common accident type.


With a homicide rate of 5.7 per 100,000, West Virginia is moderately below the national average.

Drug Overdose

West Virginia’s suicide rate is 14th highest in the nation, and West Virginia’s drug overdose death rate is the highest. The drug most commonly overdosed on in West Virginia is opioids.


West Virginia’s COVID-19 death rate for 2020 was 57.1 per 100,000, 11th lowest in the U.S. Through July, 2021, the rate is 162 per 100,000.

Lifestyle choices

West Virginia has the second highest obesity rate (behind Mississippi) and the nation’s highest rate of adult smokers (25.4%).


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, Fertility Rates by State (2019).

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

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

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

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 (July 13, 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).

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