Mesothelioma predominantly affects groups living in more industrial states or those with naturally occurring asbestos deposits. While survival rates by state are not significant, death rates can be used to describe the total number of deaths in each state. This figure is usually expressed in deaths per million, meaning the number of deaths for every million residents of the state.
Mesothelioma Death Rates by State, 1999-2010
The basic formula is this:
Death Rate (in deaths per million) = (Mesothelioma Deaths / Total Population) * 1,000,000
If the total number of residents in a state is 2 million, for example, and a total of 10 people died of mesothelioma, the death rate is 5 deaths per million. This formula provides a way for researchers to account for vast population differences between states. In more populous states, there may be a high number of mesothelioma deaths but a comparatively low death rate.
In addition to correcting for population differences between states, researchers may also adjust statistics for age differences. Because mesothelioma is most often diagnosed in people between 50 and 70 years old, states with older populations appear to have higher mesothelioma death rates, even when this may not be true.
For more meaningful comparisons across states and other regions, researchers can calculate age-adjusted death rates. When researchers do not age-adjust data, such as in the death rate formula above, the results are known as the crude death rate.
Based on data from 1999 to 2010, Maine has the highest age-adjusted death rate of 14.6 deaths per million people. Besides Maine, 26 other states had a higher mesothelioma death rate than the national average of 8.3 deaths per million.
The top five states by age-adjusted death rates include:
- Maine — 14.6 deaths per million
- Alaska — 13.6 deaths per million
- Washington — 13.1 deaths per million
- Wyoming — 12.0 deaths per million
- New Jersey — 11.5 deaths per million