More Wyoming Deaths in 2021 - And Not Just From COVID-19

More Wyoming Deaths in 2021 – And Not Just From COVID-19

Written by on April 18, 2022

There were more deaths, suicides, and overdoses in Wyoming in 2021 due to several different factors – and COVID-19 is only third on the list of common causes.

Official records filed with Vital Statistics Services (V.S.S.), part of the Wyoming Department of Health (W.D.H.), show another sharp increase in deaths last year. However, the 2021 number is higher than what would have been expected before the COVID-19 pandemic, and COVID is only third on the list of the most common causes of death.

Among Wyoming residents, there were 6,572 deaths recorded in 2021.

For comparison: 5,986 deaths were recorded in 2020 and 5,122 deaths in 2019, according to official death certificate information

“Before the pandemic, our data has shown steady, small increases in deaths for several years largely due to our state’s aging population. That’s something we would have reasonably expected to continue,” said Guy Beaudoin, V.S.S. deputy state registrar with W.D.H. “However, the dramatically increased numbers of deaths over the last two years are unprecedented in Wyoming. It’s clear COVID-19 was a driving factor.”

The top five causes of death in Wyoming for 2021 were

  1. Cancers (1,151)
  2. Heart diseases (1,113)
  3. COVID-19 (1,025)
  4. Various types of accidents and adverse effects (379)
  5. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and related conditions (355)

Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, 1,801 Wyoming residents have died due to COVID-19.

Wyoming also saw a slight increase in its number of suicides, continuing a steadily increasing rate in Wyoming since 2015.

In 2021, 189 (+7 over 2020) suicides were recorded among Wyoming residents compared to 182 in 2020 (+13 over 2019). Previously, there were 169 in 2019 (+22 over 2018), 147 in 2018 (-8 over 2017), 155 in 2017 (+12 over 2016), 143 in 2016 (-12 over 2015), 155 in 2015 (+36 over 2014), 119 in 2014 (-9 over 213), 128 in 2013 (-44 over 2012) and 172 in 2012.

“There were small increases in the number of suicide completions in each of the last two years, but there have been other times over the last decade with significantly larger year-over-year jumps and some years with reductions,” Beaudoin said.

Wyoming’s data shows 72% of suicide deaths in 2021 were due to firearms, 22% to hanging, and 4% to poisoning.

“Deaths attributed to overdoses are another area of interest where we have seen increases between some years and decreases between others,” Beaudoin said. “Of note, we do continue to see the percentage of overdose deaths caused by illicit drugs rather than prescription drugs as growing within our state.”

Overdose deaths also increased from 2020 to 2021.

In 2021, there were 95 (+5 over 2020) overdose deaths recorded among Wyoming residents compared to 90 in 2020 (+9 over 2019). Previously, there were 81 in 2019 (+16 over 2018), 65 in 2018 (+5 over 2017), 60 in 2017 (-34 over 2016), 94 in 2016 (-1 over 2015), 95 in 2015 (-12 over 2014), 107 in 2014 (+11 over 2013), 96 in 2013 (-3 over 2012), and 99 in 2012.

But the good news is there were more births, more marriages, and fewer divorces among Wyomingites in 2021.

There were 6,232 births among Wyoming resident mothers in 2021 compared with 6,132 in 2020. The high over the past decade was in 2015, with 7,678 resident births.

“Last year was the first in quite some time with an increase recorded in the number of new babies in Wyoming,” Beaudoin said. “Previously, we had seen an ongoing significant downward trend over several years.”

There were 4,274 marriages recorded in Wyoming last year compared to 3,986 in 2020 and 4,062 in 2019 before the pandemic.

As far as divorces, there were 2,158 finalized in 2021 compared with 2,227 divorces in 2020 and 2,253 in 2019 before the pandemic.

V.S.S. promotes and protects the health of Wyoming residents by serving as the official custodian of all vital records in the state and by distributing health information.

Visit the Wyoming Department of Health website for more details about Vital Statistics Services and its 2021 numbers.

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