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NJ Health Statistics
1997

Mortality
Leading Causes Of Death

Total Mortality

Diseases of the heart (heart disease), malignant neoplasms (cancer), and cerebrovascular diseases (stroke), in that order, continued to be the three leading causes of death of New Jerseyans (Figure M2 and Table M2). Together, these three underlying causes accounted for 62.9 percent of resident deaths in 1997. Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), a grouped cause which encompasses chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma and unspecified chronic airways obstruction, ranked fourth as a cause of death. Pneumonia/influenza was the fifth leading cause of death, followed closely by diabetes in sixth place and unintentional injuries in seventh. Septicemia, which was ninth in 1996, became the eighth leading cause of death in 1997 and nephritis and nephrosis changed from tenth to ninth. HIV infection dropped in ranking for the third year, this time going from eighth in 1996 to tenth in 1997. Chart M1 presents the average daily toll of deaths by cause in 1997. Tables M17 and M17A through M17J provide the distribution of deaths by cause group and age for the total resident population and by race/sex category, while Table M18 provides a more detailed distribution of cause of death by age group. Table M27 has the basic distribution of 39 causes of death of residents of each county in New Jersey.

Figure 2



Chart M1




Chart M2

Though not in the same order, the seven leading causes of death in the United States were the same as in New Jersey. However, in the nation as a whole, suicide was the eighth leading cause, nephritis/nephrosis was ninth, and chronic liver disease and cirrhosis was the tenth leading cause of death in 1997 (Hoyert, D.L., et. al., 1999).

For four of the ten leading causes of death in New Jersey in 1997, the numbers of deaths were higher than they had been in 1996. While the ten leading causes were the same in 1996 and 1997, the ranks of three causes exchanged positions. Septicemia and nephritis/nephrosis went from the ninth and tenth leading causes of death, respectively, in New Jersey and HIV infection became the tenth leading cause in 1997, having been the eighth in 1996 (Table M2).

TABLE M2. THE TEN LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH RANKED BY FREQUENCY
NEW JERSEY, 1996 AND 1997
CAUSE GROUP(ICD-9 CODES) 1997 1996 1996-1997
RANK NUMBER OF DEATHS RANK NUMBER OF DEATHS CHANGE IN DEATHS
NUMBER PERCENT
DISEASES OF THE HEART(390-398, 402, 404-429) 1 23,157 1 23,658 -501 -2.1
MALIGNANT NEOPLASMS (140-208) 2 17,910 2 18,124 -214 -1.2
CEREBROVASCULAR DISEASES(430-438) 3 4,210 3 4,309 -99 -2.3
CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASES (490-496) 4 2,775 4 2,759 16 0.6
PNEUMONIA/INFLUENZA (480-487) 5 2,443 5 2,500 -57 -2.3
DIABETES MELLITUS (250) 6 2,400 6 2,411 -11 -0.5
UNINTENTIONAL INJURIES(E800-E949) 7 2,159 7 2,113 46 2.2
SEPTICEMIA (038) 8 1,311 9 1,237 74 6.0
NEPHRITIS AND NEPHROSIS(580-589) 9 1,091 10 1,020 71 7.0
HIV INFECTION (042-044) 10 1,023 8 1,786 -763 -42.7

The greatest decrease in the number of deaths in 1997 compared to 1996, was due to HIV infection: 763 fewer deaths. The decrease was concentrated almost completely (76.4%) in the population 25 through 44 years old. Heart disease also had a large decrease (501 deaths) from the number in 1996. This decrease was almost exclusively among those 65 and over (93.6%).

While the change in the number of deaths due to heart disease was large, the percentage decrease was only 2.1 percent. There was a striking 42.7 percent decline in the number of HIV infection deaths from 1996 to 1997.

Cancer deaths declined by 1.2 percent over the prior year or 214 fewer deaths, the third highest absolute decrease of any of the ten leading causes of death. These deaths declined by 72 among 45 through 64 year olds and by 117 in those 65 and over. Changes in cancer death rates have varied by site over the past ten years (Table M3). The age-adjusted death rates for several cancer types have decreased since 1987, although some of these cancer sites are responsible for small numbers of deaths. Among sites with more than 100 deaths in 1997, substantial declines in the death rate were recorded for cancer of the lip, oral cavity, and pharynx (a 32.1% decline) and cancer of the colon and rectum (a 26.9% decline). Cancer of the hematopoietic tissue other than leukemia was 2.6 percent higher in 1997 then it was ten years earlier. The age-adjusted death rate for leukemia was the same in 1997 as it was in 1987. The total age-adjusted death rate from all cancer types declined 9.9 percent over the period.

TABLE M3. RESIDENT DEATHS AND AGE-ADJUSTED DEATH RATES FROM MALIGNANT NEOPLASMS BY SITE
NEW JERSEY, ODD-NUMBERED YEARS, 1987-1997
SITE (ICD-9 CODES) NUMBER OF DEATHS
1997
RATE*
1997
RATE*
1995
RATE*
1993
RATE*
1991
RATE*
1989
RATE*
1987
LIP, ORAL CAVITY AND PHARYNX (140-149) 235 1.9 2.3 2.4 2.6 2.5 2.8
COLON AND RECTUM(153-154, 159.0) 1,996 12.8 15.0 15.3 15.8 16.8 17.5
OTHER DIGESTIVE ORGANS (150-152, 155-158, 159.1-159.9) 2,435 17.1 18.2 18.2 18.9 17.6 17.8
LUNG INCLUDING BRONCHUS(162.2-162.9) 4,765 35.5 37.3 38.8 38.9 39.1 38.6
BONE, SKIN, CONNECTIVE TISSUE (170-173) 461 3.7 3.6 3.8 4.3 4.4 4.4
FEMALE BREAST (174) 1,584 22.5 23.3 23.5 27.2 27.1 25.6
CERVIX UTERI (180) 150 2.6 2.7 2.5 2.6 3.1 2.9
OTHER/UNSPECIFIEDFEMALE GENITAL ORGANS (179, 181-184) 756 10.0 10.8 11.3 10.7 10.6 10.2
PROSTATE (185) 1,019 13.6 16.4 17.8 17.0 17.6 14.8
OTHER/UNSPECIFIED MALE GENITAL ORGANS (186-187) 5 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
URINARY ORGANS (188-189) 843 5.4 5.5 5.3 5.4 6.0 5.5
NERVOUS SYSTEM (191-192) 390 3.4 3.7 3.4 3.7 3.1 3.6
LEUKEMIA (204-208) 651 4.6 4.8 5.3 4.7 4.7 4.6
OTHER HEMATOPOIETICTISSUE (200-203) 1,109 7.9 8.7 7.3 8.0 8.0 7.7
OTHER SITE (160.0-162.0, 163-165, 175, 190, 193-198) 459 3.6 3.2 3.7 3.4 3.2 2.9
UNSPECIFIED SITE (199) 1,052 7.3 8.0 8.6 7.8 9.3 9.1
TOTAL (140-208) 17,910 127.9 137.2 139.8 142.7 144.3 141.9
*Age-adjusted death rates are computed based on the total population except for cancer of the prostate and other male genital organs, for which the rate is based on the male population and cancer of the female breast, cervix uteri, and other female genital organs, for which the rate is based on the female population.


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