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Nov. 17, 2011
TOPEKA There were fewer infant deaths in Kansas last year than any year since they were first tracked in 1911.
That's one of the findings in the 2010 Annual Summary of Vital Statistics released today by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Of 40,439 births in 2010, 253 babies died. That was down from 290 deaths out of 41,369 births in 2009.
“Though 253 deaths among infants remains unacceptable, it is encouraging that 2010 marks the third consecutive year of lower infant deaths in Kansas,” said Dr. Robert Moser, KDHE secretary and state health officer.
That puts the state's infant mortality rate at 6.3 per 1,000 live births, still among the highest death rates in the nation. The national average is 5.6.
The report, which provides a baseline for assessing the health of Kansans, also showed that heart disease was the top cause of death in all ages, at 5,404 people. Cancer was the cause of death for 5,359 people.
Overall, the 10 leading causes of death were the same last year as they were in 2009: heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, unintentional injuries, Alzheimer’s disease, pneumonia and influenza, diabetes, kidney disease and suicide.
One hundred years ago, the top causes of death were heart disease, tuberculosis, kidney disease, violent deaths other than suicide, pneumonia, congenital debility and malformations, diarrhea and enteritis, cerebral hemorrhage, and cancer. Overall, chronic diseases account for a substantially higher proportion of deaths today than they did at the beginning of the last century.
Other notable statistics from the state's 2010 report:
• The average age at death among Kansans was 74.1 years.
• The number of deaths increased 1.8 percent, rising from 23,997 in 2009 to 24,428. That reflects an overall decline in the state’s age-adjusted death rate during the past 20 years.
• At 40,439, resident births decreased 2.3 percent from 2009. The resident birth rate, which was 14.2 births per 1,000 population in 2010, last peaked in 2007 at 15.1.
• The number of marriages dropped slightly, to 18,150 from 18,268 in 2009. The number of marriage dissolutions (divorces and annulments) increased to 10,579 from 10,333 in 2009.
• Population density increased 14.4 percent to 34.9 inhabitants per square mile. Of the state's 105 counties, 36 had population densities of fewer than six people per square mile. The most densely populated county was Johnson with 1,149.6 people per square mile.
The full 2010 report and those going back to 1997 are available at kdheks.gov.