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FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH Division of Public Health Statistics & Performance Management

Florida Mortality Atlas

Back to Florida Mortality Atlas

The Florida Mortality Atlas provides a visual display of leading causes of death in Florida. Causes of death are presented for the total population and then by race (white and non-white). For 1999-2003, the information is available by gender as well. All files are provided in .pdf format for convenient printing.

The Florida Mortality Atlas uses maps to depict causes of death by county. These maps are color coded to show which areas of the state have highest and lowest rates of selected causes of death. The color-coded maps provide a relative ranking among counties with the darkest color representing the highest age-adjusted death rates and the lightest color representing the lowest age-adjusted death rates.

Since the occurrence of many health conditions is related to age, the most common adjustment for public health data is age-adjustment. The Florida Mortality Atlas uses age-adjusted mortality rates so that differences in the age composition are removed, allowing for comparisons independent of age structure. The Florida Mortality Atlas has been age adjusted using the US 2000 Standard Population.

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

Trends in Mortality

There has been an overall decline in age-adjusted death rates from 1970 to 2003. Though the gap between death rates of Nonwhites and Whites is diminishing, Nonwhites experienced significantly higher age-adjusted death rates during the period than did Whites.

The overall decline in age-adjusted death rates in the last 30 years can be largely attributed to a 43.7% decrease in the rate of deaths due to heart disease. Even with the drop in rates, heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in Florida and the United States. Although there has been a slight reduction in rates, cancer deaths remain relatively the same and rank as the second leading cause of death. There have also been significant decreases in age-adjusted death rates for six other leading causes of death. For example, the age-adjusted death rates for stroke decreased by 65.2%, the largest reduction in rates for any of the leading causes of death.

Since 1970, increases in age-adjusted death rates have occurred for three of the leading causes of death: chronic lower respiratory disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. Chronic lower respiratory disease, which includes asthma deaths, increased by 109.4%. Diabetes deaths increased by 18.9% and deaths attributed to kidney disease increased by 106.5%. Since 1980, the first year for which data are available, deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease have also increased steadily.  

The total age-specific mortality rate for children under 1 year of age has decreased from 1970 to 2000. The age-specific rate of death caused by perinatal conditions—the leading cause of death in 1970 and 2000 for children less than 1 year of age—decreased by more than two-thirds over the 30-year period. Congenital anomalies ranks as the second leading cause of death for children less than 1 year of age.

In 2000, unintentional injury was the leading cause of death in Florida for persons ages 1 to 44. The age-specific rate of death due to unintentional injuries decreased by more than 50% for children ages 1 to 4 from 1970 to 2000. For residents ages 45-74, cancer is the leading cause of death. HIV/AIDS ranks as one of the top five causes of death for Florida residents ages 25 to 54.