State report compiles vital statistic data on births, deaths, marriages and divorces

Dec. 6, 2019 – The Section of Health Analytics & Vital Records within the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Public Health just released its 2018 Alaska Vital Statistics Annual Report.

The report examines Alaska resident births, deaths, adoptions, as well as marriages and divorces using the most recent Alaska Vital Statistics data.

These figures provide health trends for health care providers, planners, researchers and others interested in public health.

In 2018, Olivia and Oliver were the most popular baby names, replacing Emma and James from 2017.

Alaskan mothers gave birth to 10,092 babies last year. The fertility rate of 69.3 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age in 2018 was a slight decrease from 71.4 births per 1,000 women in 2017, continuing a fertility rate decline in Alaska that is also occurring nationwide.

In 2018, 4,940 marriages were performed and there were 2,759 separations; both of those rates show general declines over the last decade.

During 2018, a total of 4,461 deaths occurred among Alaskan residents. The top 10 leading causes of death accounted for 72% of all deaths and were, in ranked order: 1) malignant neoplasms (cancer); 2) diseases of the heart; 3) unintentional injuries (including unintentional overdoses); 4) chronic lower respiratory disease; 5) cerebrovascular disease (stroke); 6) intentional self-harm (suicide); 7) Alzheimer’s disease; 8) diabetes; 9) chronic liver disease and cirrhosis; and 10) influenza and pneumonia.

“The yearly vital statistics report helps the Department of Health and Social Services work with community members to address the leading causes of death to help fulfill our mission of improving the health of all Alaskans today and tomorrow,” said Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer. “Promoting health and wellness is a collaborative process. Alaskans can help improve their health and address many of these leading causes of death by getting regular physical activity, choosing healthy foods and drinks, avoiding tobacco and other substances of addiction, getting regular health screenings and taking other preventive health measures such as keeping current on all vaccinations including the flu vaccine.”

In a positive trend, Alaska’s age-adjusted death rate decreased over the past two years, from 740.5 deaths per 100,000 Alaska residents in 2016 to 707.5 deaths per 100,000 Alaska residents in 2018.

Age-adjusted death rates for cancer and heart disease also decreased over the past five years while unintentional injuries have remained roughly the same over that same time frame and are the leading cause of premature death.

These statistics are closely followed by those in the health care community and are used by DHSS and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium to develop the state health improvement plan, Healthy Alaskans 2030.

The Healthy Alaskans 2030 plan contains Alaska’s health priority goals for the next 10 years and will be released in January.

DHSS works with partners throughout Alaska to offer a wide range of prevention programs to help Alaskans lead long, healthy lives. Some key programs that help prevent the 10 leading causes of death include the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, Injury Prevention, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Tobacco Prevention and Control, Suicide Prevention, Diabetes Prevention and Control, Nutrition and Physical Activity, Immunization, and Substance Misuse and Addiction Prevention.

The Alaska Commission on Aging provides resources on Alzheimer’s disease and Play Every Day helps Alaska youth establish a lifetime of healthy habits and maintain a healthy weight.

For more information:

• DHSS Health Analytics and Vital Records Data and Statistics

• Healthy Alaskans

• Comprehensive Cancer Control Program

• Diabetes Prevention and Control

• Alaska Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention

• Take Heart Alaska

• Alaska Injury Prevention

• Tobacco Prevention and Control

• Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias

• Physical Activity and Nutrition

• Play Every Day