Rising Stress-Related Deaths in Kansas

A Community and Socioeconomic Perspective

2 Min Read

May 11, 2018


Kansas Health Institute


Keynote speaker Steven H. Woolf, M.D., M.P.H., presents findings on mortality rates in Kansas to a capacity crowd on Friday, May 11, 2018, at the Kansas Health Institute.

Why Are Death Rates Rising Among Some Whites in Kansas?

Long-term mortality rates in the U.S. had been steadily decreasing for all racial and ethnic groups. Recently, that trend has been disrupted among middle-age, White, non-Hispanics, in the U.S. and in Kansas. The mortality rate from stress related conditions—drug overdoses, alcohol poisoning, alcoholic liver disease and suicide—has more than doubled since the late 1990s for White, non-Hispanic, Kansans age 25-64. What are the causes of this concerning trend?

Where and Why is This Happening?

Stress-related condition mortality among White, non-Hispanics, age 25-64, increased significantly between 1995 and 2014 in all but the Northwest region. The largest relative increase (158 percent) occurred in North Central Kansas. Southeast Kansas, where death rates from all causes were already the highest in the state, experienced the second highest relative increase (147 percent).

Graphic showing increase in drug overdose, suicides and alcohol poisoning

Deaths of Despair

Stress-Related Condition (SRC) deaths among White, non-Hispanic, Kansans, age 25-64, increased by 112% between 1995 and 2014. Three SRC conditions—drug overdoses, alcoholic liver disease and suicides—accounted for almost half (48%) of the excess deaths from all causes between 2000 and 2014.

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About Kansas Health Institute

The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. KHI believes evidence-based information, objective analysis and civil dialogue enable policy leaders to be champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.

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