How does Connecticut compare nationwide in preventable death?

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When it comes to preventable deaths, Connecticut appears to be ahead of the curve.

In the United States, about 58 of every 100,000 residents died from a preventable cause, according to data collected from 2011 to 2013 by the Trust For America’s Health. Causes included things like motor vehicle accidents, drug overdoses, homicides or suicides. In all, about 193,000 people per year died from these preventable causes nationwide.

But in Connecticut, about 50 per 100,000 people died from these causes — fifth lowest in the nation. And in almost every subcategory, Connecticut fares better than the nationwide average.

The leading causes

The leading cause of “injury death” nationwide was drug overdoses. Connecticut’s rate was close to the nationwide average — 13.1 per 100,000 in Connecticut, versus 13.4 in the U.S.

For people ages 5 to 34, the leading cause of preventable death was motor vehicle accidents. But in Connecticut, the rate was significantly lower than the nationwide average. There were just 7.4 deaths per 100,000 in Connecticut, versus 13.4 in the U.S. Most of the lowest rates came from the Northeast — Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, D.C. and Massachusetts — probably because of the public transit available in those areas.

For those ages 65 and older, the most common cause was fall injuries. In Connecticut, the rate of death from falls was close to the nationwide average — 7.8 per 100,000 in Connecticut, versus 8.2 per 100,000 nationwide — but the data was adjusted for age, so an aging population doesn’t affect the numbers. According to the report, “The number of fall injuries and deaths are expected to increase as the Baby Boomer cohort ages; the number of seniors 65 and older will increase from 40 million to more than 88 million in 2050.”

Suicide, homicide and children

For every homicide in Connecticut, there were about 2.5 suicides. The ratio was similar nationwide, but the rate of suicides and homicides was lower in this state than most others.

Connecticut had the sixth-lowest suicide rate in the nation — 9.5 per 100,000, versus 12.5 overall. In Utah, New Mexico, Alaska, Montana and Wyoming, there were at least 20 suicides per 100,000 people.

Connecticut had the 20th lowest homicide rate, at 3.8 per 100,000, versus 5.3 nationwide. The District of Columbia, Louisiana and Mississippi all had rates higher than 10 homicides per 100,000 people.

The state also had a low rate of preventable death among children under 19. About 10.6 out of 100,000 children die from preventable causes; the nationwide average is 15.8. But the only subcategory in which Connecticut lags behind the nationwide average is child maltreatment deaths; the state had 9.3 deaths per 100,000, while the nationwide average was 9.1.

Indicators for safety: We’re middle of the pack

The report also looked at indicators for safety in each state, like restricting teen driving after 10 p.m., or primary seat belt laws, which allow an officer to ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing a seat belt without any other traffic infraction.

Connecticut ranked in the middle of the pack using these indicators. It was docked points for:

  • Not requiring booster seats for children under 8 in vehicles
  • Allowing teens to drive after 10 p.m.
  • Not meeting the nationwide goal of less than 9.1 cases of neglect or child abuse per 1,000 children
  • Not meeting the nationwide goal of less than 7.2 deaths by falling per 100,000
  • Not having a state-run electronic prescription-drug database

New York topped the list, only failing to meet the child abuse standards.

Play with the chart below to re-rank states based on your own criteria.

What do you think?

  • Peter Morgan

    x in the final chart seems to mean that there is (x) or there is not (blank) legislation on that issue? Or that the state fails (x) or succeeds (blank) to meet targets? Anyway the category header details need to say what x means in each case.

    Also, “bike helmets” is confusing until one looks at the detail, insofar as the lack of motorbike helmets has always seemed a remarkable feature of CT roads; my preconception would be that the lack of motorbike helmets results in less control of preventable deaths and injuries than might the lack of cycle helmets for children.

    • alvinschang

      Good feedback on both. I edited the chart for clarity.