Alaska's fertility, death rates down in 2018

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Department of Health and Social Services has released its Alaska Vital Statistics Annual Report, analyzing public health for 2018.

The report looks at things like fertility rates, death rates, the leading causes of death, and more. It also provides a backdrop for where health officials want to be in the coming decade, according to a DHSS press release.

Mothers gave birth to 10,092 babies in 2018, with a fertility rate of 69.3 births per 1,000 women. That’s down from a fertility rate of 71.4 in 2017.

This mirrors a nationwide decline in fertility rates -- 2018 actually marked the lowest rate on record for the nation, at 59.1 births per 1,000 women, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Death rates also decreased in Alaska, from 740.5 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2016 to 707.5 deaths in 2018. DHSS did not provide a reason behind this decrease in age-adjusted death rates.

DHSS identified the leading causes of death in the state, with cancer at the top of the list. Heart disease and unintentional injuries, including overdoses, came in at second and third, respectively. Influenza and pneumonia were the tenth leading cause of death.

Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink recommends regular health screenings and staying current on all vaccinations, including the flu vaccine.

“Alaskans can help improve their health and address many of these leading causes of death,” Zink said in a DHSS press release, “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.”

DHSS and its partners will use this report to develop Alaska’s health priority goals for the next decade, called “Healthy Alaskans 2030.” The plan will be released in January, according to DHSS.

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