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How deadly is your state? This list will tell you

Published Nov 17th, 2020 12:06PM EST
Image: Design Pics/Keith Levit/Keith Levit/Newscom/The Mega Agency

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  • A ranking of the deadliest states in the United States takes into account various causes of mortality including COVID-19.
  • The rankings show which states are better at things like public health and which ones have lower levels of violent crime.
  • There are a couple of surprises on the list, but most of it won’t blow your mind.

Want to know how healthy your state is? There’s a list for that. How about how drunk your state is? There’s a list for that too. Most of the state rankings we’ve seen from BestLife are lighthearted and fun, but this latest list is a little bit more on the grim side. It’s a ranking of how deadly each state in the United States is, and the site took a lot of data into consideration when producing it.

The overall “Deadliness Score” takes into account various causes of death and how prevalent they are in each state. The data is calculated per capita, so larger states aren’t automatically at a disadvantage. The causes of death include heart disease, cancer, accidents, automotive accidents, violent crime, and of course COVID-19.

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So, as we always do, let’s take a look at the bottom of the list first, in reverse order. These are apparently the least deadly states, based on all the data taken into account:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Utah
  3. Colorado
  4. Minnesota
  5. Oregon
  6. California
  7. Washington
  8. Alaska
  9. Nebraska
  10. Virginia

Not too many surprises on this end of the list. Many of these states are known for being healthy or at least emphasizing public health initiatives. You can say whatever you want about the “health nuts” in California and Oregon but it certainly seems to be working out for them. Other states on this end of the list have very low scores for one specific thing like violent crime (Utah) or COVID-19 (Alaska), which helps keep them on the right end of the rankings.

Now let’s see the other end of the list. These are the states with the highest “Deadliness Score”:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Louisiana
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Alabama
  5. New York
  6. Arkansas
  7. West Virginia
  8. Tennessee
  9. Kentucky
  10. Michigan

Again, there actually aren’t a lot of surprises here. Most of these states are known at least in part for having poor overall public health. Mississippi, in particular, is always at or near the top of lists regarding heart disease and obesity metrics, which affects their rankings significantly. Likewise, many of these states have high COVID-19 scores.

I will say that including COVID-19 in the ranking for each state may be a bit unfair. As we’ve seen over the course of the year, the numbers of cases and deaths from COVID-19 can change dramatically over the course of just a month or two. Some states go up, some go down, and the virus has affected each state differently at a different point in the year. Right now, most states are at all-time highs for new cases, which is bad, but those that aren’t may benefit significantly in these rankings.

If you don’t see your state on the list, head over to BestLife’s site for the full rundown.