Florida Mortality Atlas

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The Florida Mortality Atlas provides a visual display of the most recent leading causes of death in Florida. Age groups are divided into roughly ten year increments to display the difference in the top five leading causes of death. Causes of death are presented for the total population as well as whites, blacks, and Hispanics. Additionally, a breakdown of each cause of death also shows the difference in age and sex. Maps are color coded to show which areas of the state have highest and lowest rates for the selected cause of death. Counties with the darkest color represent the highest age-adjusted death rates and those with the lightest color represent the lowest age-adjusted death rates.

Age-adjusted death rates remove the difference between populations due to differences in age composition. Using age-adjusted rates is a common practice that makes it possible to compare rates across populations. Age-adjusted rates are calculated using the US 2000 Standard Population.

Data for 1970-78, 1979-98, and 1999-present are not fully comparable due to changes in coding causes of death. Consequently, increases or decreases in 1979 and 1999 may not be due to changes in disease trends but rather coding changes.

The sources of data for the Florida Mortality Atlas are the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Vital Statistics and the Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

Infectious diseases were the major killers of Floridians in the early 1900s. Influenza, pneumonia, tuberculosis, syphilis and enteric infections were among the top 10 causes of death in the first third of the 1900's and often struck down Floridians in the prime of their youth. Chronic diseases have overtaken infectious diseases as the leading causes of death due an increase in standard of living, hygienic changes, and advances in the control of infectious disease.

Comparing recent age-adjusted death rates (AADRs) for leading causes of death with those 15 years ago shows improvements among several causes of death. Positive changes have been made in cancer, heart disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, HIV, and pneumonitis. AADRs have not improved for unintentional injury, Alzheimer’s disease, CLRD, suicide, CLDC, kidney diseases, hypertension, and Parkinson’s disease.

Looking at the five leading causes of death by age group shows the following:

• Perinatal conditions and Congenital Malformations were leading causes of death among those less than 1 year of age.
• Unintentional injury was a leading cause of death among Floridians from birth through age 64.
• Cancer (malignant neoplasms) was a leading cause of death among Floridians, except those less than 1 year of age.
• Heart disease was a leading cause of death among Floridians, except those between 10 and 14 years of age.
• Suicide was a leading cause of death among those between 10 and 54 years of age.
• CLDC (chronic liver disease & cirrhosis) was a leading cause of death among those 45 to 54 years of age.
• CLRD (chronic lower respiratory disease) was a leading cause of death among those 5 to 9 and 55 years of age and older.
• Stroke (cerebrovascular disease) was a leading cause of death among those 65 years of age and older.
• Diabetes was a leading cause of death for individuals between 55 and 74 years of age.
• Alzheimer’s disease was a leading cause of death for those 75 years of age and older.