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Mortality Rate - Women
Mortality Rate - Women in United States
United States

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United States Value:


Number of deaths per 100,000 women ages 20-44

Mortality Rate - Women in depth:

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Mortality Rate - Women by State

Number of deaths per 100,000 women ages 20-44

Mortality Rate - Women Trends

Number of deaths per 100,000 women ages 20-44

Trend: Mortality Rate - Women in United States, 2022 Health Of Women And Children Report

Number of deaths per 100,000 women ages 20-44

United States

 CDC WONDER, Multiple Cause of Death Files

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Mortality Rate - Women

Trend: Mortality Rate - Women in United States, 2022 Health Of Women And Children Report

Number of deaths per 100,000 women ages 20-44

United States

 CDC WONDER, Multiple Cause of Death Files

About Mortality Rate - Women

US Value: 117.3

Top State(s): Hawaii: 73.8

Bottom State(s): West Virginia: 214.6

Definition: Number of deaths per 100,000 women ages 20-44

Data Source and Years: CDC WONDER, Multiple Cause of Death Files, 2020

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of CDC WONDER, Multiple Cause of Death Files, United Health Foundation,, accessed 2023.

The death rate among women of reproductive age increased between 2011 and 2019. Social factors such as low education, poverty, racial segregation and inadequate social support contribute to premature death. The five leading causes of death among women ages 20-44 in 2020 were unintentional injuries (led by drug poisoning and motor vehicle accidents), cancer, heart disease, suicide and homicide. 

Pregnancy-related death, or maternal mortality, is another contributor to premature mortality rates among women of reproductive age. After March 2020, a substantial increase in maternal deaths was reported, coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic. The death of a woman of reproductive age adversely impacts her family and community. The early death of a mother may lead to depression, anxiety and other long-term emotional problems in children. The loss of a parent is also associated with decreased academic performance. 

Premature deaths are costly. In 2020, the total cost of suicide, homicide and unintentional injury deaths of females ages 20-44 was estimated at more than $300 billion in combined medical and work loss costs, according to WISQARS Cost of Injury data.

The mortality rate is higher among:

  • Women living in rural areas compared with women living in urban areas.
  • Less-wealthy women compared with wealthier women.
  • Black and Hispanic women whose spouses have died (i.e., widows) compared with white women whose spouses have died.

Many deaths that occur among women of reproductive age are preventable. Strategies to reduce premature death within this population include targeting the leading causes of death, including:

  • Promoting the use of seat belts to reduce motor vehicle fatalities.
  • Funding projects to prevent opioid misuse in women and girls may help decrease overdose deaths in the long run.
  • Encouraging lifestyle changes, including healthy eating habits, regular physical activity and smoking cessation, may reduce the risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer.
  • Implementing universal suicide screening in emergency rooms and Safety Planning Interventions can reduce suicide deaths by providing evidence-based coping strategies and supporting high-risk patients.
  • Intimate partner violence (IPV) lethality risk assessments may prevent violence by identifying women at risk and connecting them with life-saving safety planning and services. Other IPV prevention measures include teaching safe and healthy relationship skills and how to recognize risky situations and behaviors to young individuals.

Death related to or aggravated by pregnancy also uniquely contributes to mortality rates among women of reproductive age. At the state level, age-adjusted all-cause mortality among women ages 15-44 was highly correlated with pregnancy-related mortality. The Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health offers toolkits, maternal early warning systems and other resources to support and guide quality improvement efforts in health care facilities to prevent pregnancy-related deaths. The CDC recently established the Hear Her campaign, which shares messages about urgent warning signs to help prevent pregnancy-related deaths. Safe access to maternal care and facilities during pregnancy could also reduce mortality.

Healthy People 2030 has several goals related to reducing premature mortality among women, including reducing female breast cancer deaths, maternal deaths, and deaths by injury, suicide and homicide.

Curtin, Sally, and Merianne Rose Spencer. 2021. “Trends in Death Rates in Urban and Rural Areas: United States, 1999–2019.” NCHS Data Brief No. 417. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.

Dunlap, Laura J., Stephen Orme, Gary A. Zarkin, Sarah A. Arias, Ivan W. Miller, Carlos A. Camargo, Ashley F. Sullivan, et al. 2019. “Screening and Intervention for Suicide Prevention: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of the ED-SAFE Interventions.” Psychiatric Services 70 (12): 1082–87.

Galea, Sandro, Melissa Tracy, Katherine J. Hoggatt, Charles DiMaggio, and Adam Karpati. 2011. “Estimated Deaths Attributable to Social Factors in the United States.” American Journal of Public Health 101 (8): 1456–65.

Gemmill, Alison, Blair O. Berger, Matthew A. Crane, and Claire E. Margerison. 2022. “Mortality Rates Among U.S. Women of Reproductive Age, 1999–2019.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 62 (4): 548–57.

Hajat, Anjum, Jay S. Kaufman, Kathryn M. Rose, Arjumand Siddiqi, and James C. Thomas. 2011. “Long-Term Effects of Wealth on Mortality and Self-Rated Health Status.” American Journal of Epidemiology 173 (2): 192–200.

Liu, Hui, Debra Umberson, and Minle Xu. 2020. “Widowhood and Mortality: Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and the Role of Economic Resources.” Annals of Epidemiology 45 (May): 69-75.e1.

Petrosky, Emiko, Janet M. Blair, Carter J. Betz, Katherine A. Fowler, Shane P.D. Jack, and Bridget H. Lyons. 2017. “Racial and Ethnic Differences in Homicides of Adult Women and the Role of Intimate Partner Violence — United States, 2003–2014.” MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 66 (28): 741–46.

Stanley, Barbara, Gregory K. Brown, Lisa A. Brenner, Hanga C. Galfalvy, Glenn W. Currier, Kerry L. Knox, Sadia R. Chaudhury, Ashley L. Bush, and Kelly L. Green. 2018. “Comparison of the Safety Planning Intervention With Follow-up vs Usual Care of Suicidal Patients Treated in the Emergency Department.” JAMA Psychiatry 75 (9): 894–900.

Thoma, Marie E., and Eugene R. Declercq. 2022. “All-Cause Maternal Mortality in the US Before vs During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” JAMA Network Open 5 (6): e2219133.

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