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Leading Causes of Death
Los Angeles County

By Year, 2008-2017

Image of Heart

Image by Sbtlneet via Pixabay.com


Although, as of early March 2021, we have not yet seen, for Los Angeles County, recent mortality numbers for all causes of death, we do know that more than 10,000 lives were lost to COVID-19 by the end of 2020. Compariing this with past mortality numbers may rank COVID-19 as one of the leading, if not the leading, cause of death in Los Angeles County.


Leading Causes of Death - 2013-2017

Number of Deaths. Age-adjusted death rate* in parentheses.

Year 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
#1 Coronary heart disease
11,211 (102.9)
Coronary heart disease
11,115 (103.1)
Coronary heart disease
11,385 (107.6)
Coronary heart disease
11,062 (109.0)
Coronary heart disease
11,827 (116.7)
#2 Alzheimer's disease
4,179 (38.7)
Alzheimer's disease
4,002 (36.9)
Alzheimer's disease
3,800 (35.6)
Stroke
3,205 (32.0)
Stroke
3,300 (32.8)
#3 Stroke
3,749 (35.0)
Stroke
3,666 (34.6)
Stroke
3,668 (35.4)
Alzheimer's disease
2,884 (28.4)
COPD
2,874 (29.2)
#4 COPD
2,927 (27.6)
COPD
2,996 (28.5)
COPD
2,857 (27.7)
COPD
2,673 (27.2)
Lung cancer
2,687 (27.5)
#5 Diabetes Mellitus
2,658 (24.7)
Lung cancer
2,657 (25.2)
Lung cancer
2,851 (27.6)
Lung cancer
2,617 (26.6)
Alzheimer's disease
2,577 (25.1)
#6 Lung cancer
2,556 (24.0)
Diabetes Mellitus
2,480 (23.1)
Diabetes Mellitus
2,373 (22.7)
Diabetes Mellitus
2,291 (22.9)
Pneumonia / influenza
2,264 (22.5)
#7 Pneumonia / influenza
1,957 (18.4)
Pneumonia / influenza
2,066 (19.4)
Pneumonia / influenza
2,124 (20.3)
Pneumonia / influenza
2,071 (20.7)
Diabetes Mellitus
2,172 (21.9)
#8 Colorectal cancer
1,449 (13.4)
Liver disease/ cirrhosis
1,442 (13.2)
Liver disease/ cirrhosis
1,539 (14.2)
Colorectal cancer
1,372 (13.6)
Colorectal cancer
1,376 (13.8)
#9 Liver disease/ cirrhosis
1,412 (12.5)
Colorectal cancer
1,358 (12.7)
Colorectal cancer
1,482 (14.0)
Liver disease/ cirrhosis
1,323 (12.5)
Liver disease/ cirrhosis
1,315 (12.8)
#10 Breast cancer (female)
1,172 (19.4)
Breast cancer (female)
1,119 (18.8)
Breast cancer (female)
1,072 (18.4)
Breast cancer (female)
1,212 (21.4)
Breast cancer (female)
1,138 (20.5)

*Age-adjusted rate per 100,000. The death rates for 2008-2009 were recalculated using new population estimates based on the 2010 Census, therefore, death rates in this report may differ from rates previously published.

Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Leading Causes of Death - 2008-2012

Number of Deaths. Age-adjusted death rate* in parentheses.

Year 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
#1 Coronary heart disease
11,677 (114.7)
Coronary heart disease
11,913 (121.5)
Coronary heart disease
12,635 (137.8)
Coronary heart disease
12,725 (135.1)
Coronary heart disease
13,428 (145.6)
#2 Stroke
3,360 (33.5)
Stroke
3,256 (33.6)
Stroke
3,278 (36.2)
Stroke
3,301 (35.5)
Stroke
3,280 (35.9)
#3 Lung cancer
2,809 (28.7)
Lung cancer
2,908 (31.0)
Lung cancer
2,941 (32.8)
Lung cancer
2,958 (33.0)
Lung cancer
2,910 (32.9)
#4 COPD
2,646 (26.8)
COPD
2,874 (30.5)
COPD
2,622 (29.6)
COPD
2,904 (31.9)
COPD
2,889 (32.3)
#5 Alzheimer's disease
2,476 (24.0)
Alzheimer's disease
2,346 (23.6)
Alzheimer's disease
2,242 (24.7)
Alzheimer's disease
2,125 (22.0)
Diabetes Mellitus
2,190 (24.2)
#6 Diabetes Mellitus
2,204 (22.4)
Diabetes Mellitus
2,196 (22.9)
Pneumonia / influenza
1,964 (21.9)
Pneumonia / influenza
2,097 (22.4)
Pneumonia / influenza
2,171 (23.6)
#7 Pneumonia / influenza
2,048 (20.3)
Pneumonia / influenza
2,062 (21.3)
Diabetes Mellitus
1,894 (21.0)
Diabetes Mellitus
1,964 (21.3)
Alzheimer's disease
2,121 (22.6)
#8 Colorectal cancer
1,397 (13.9)
Colorectal cancer
1,400 (14.5)
Colorectal cancer
1,285 (14.0)
Colorectal cancer
1,388 (15.0)
Colorectal cancer
1,365 (15.0)
#9 Liver disease/ cirrhosis
1,275 (12.4)
Liver disease/ cirrhosis
1,246 (12.5)
Liver disease/ cirrhosis
1,171 (12.0)
Liver disease/ cirrhosis
1,246 (12.9)
Liver disease/ cirrhosis
1,134 (11.9)
#10 Breast cancer (female)
1,170 (21.1)
Breast cancer (female)
1,143 (21.2)
Breast cancer (female)
1,109 (21.1)
Breast cancer (female)
1,166 (22.5)
Breast cancer (female)
1,071 (20.8)

*Age-adjusted rate per 100,000. The death rates for 2008-2009 were recalculated using new population estimates based on the 2010 Census, therefore, death rates in this report may differ from rates previously published.

Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health


Leading Causes of PREMATURE Death - 2013-2017

Years of Potential Life Lost. Number of deaths, death rates not included in this table

Year 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
#1 Coronary heart disease
51,515
--- --- --- Coronary heart disease
53,380
#2 Drug overdose
27,743
--- --- --- Homicide
23,993
#3 Suicide
26,016
--- --- --- Motor vehicle crash
23,660
#4 Motor vehicle crash
25,915
--- --- --- Drug overdose
22,412
#5 Homicide
24,769
--- --- --- Suicide
21,641
#6 Liver disease/ cirrhosis
21,604
--- --- --- Liver disease/ cirrhosis
21,064
#7 Diabetes Mellitus
19,102
--- --- --- Lung cancer
15,707
#8 Stroke
16,085
--- --- --- Diabetes Mellitus
14,625
#9 Lung cancer
13,427
--- --- --- Stroke
14,146
#10 Breast cancer
12,224
--- --- --- Breast cancer
13,098

"Years of Potential Life Lost" represent total years lost to all persons who died before the age of 75. If it is expected that everyone typically lives to at least age 75, people who die younger are considered to have died prematurely. To measure this, L.A. County Dept. of Public Health (Public Health) uses "Years of Potential Life Lost, Before Age 75." For example, someone who died at age 63 is measured as having lost 12 years of expected life, whereas, someone who died at age 80 is measured as having lost no additional years of expected life. For deaths during the year, Public Health calculated years of expected life lost for all who died before age 75. By adding up the total years of potential life lost for each cause of death, Public Health identified the leading causes of premature death.

‡ Data for these years were not available from the Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health.

Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Leading Causes of PREMATURE Death - 2008-2012

Years of Potential Life Lost. Number of deaths, death rates not included in this table

Year 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
#1 Coronary heart disease
52,263
Coronary heart disease
51,374
Coronary heart disease
57,607
Coronary heart disease
59,440
Coronary heart disease
59,821
#2 Homicide
24,905
Homicide
25,255
Homicide
28,442
Homicide
31,270
Homicide
37,087
#3 Motor vehicle crash
22,895
Motor vehicle crash
21,732
Suicide
22,390
Motor vehicle crash
22,017
Motor vehicle crash
28,195
#4 Liver disease/ cirrhosis
20,788
Drug overdose
20,590
Motor vehicle crash
19,750
Liver disease/ cirrhosis
21,515
Suicide
22,177
#5 Suicide
20,683
Suicide
19,907
Liver disease/ cirrhosis
19,425
Suicide
20,835
Liver disease/ cirrhosis
19,749
#6 Drug overdose
18,206
Liver disease/ cirrhosis
18,024
Drug overdose
18,652
Drug overdose
20,484
Drug overdose
19,269
#7 Lung cancer
16,858
Lung cancer
17,086
Lung cancer
18,100
Lung cancer
17,295
Lung cancer
16,862
#8 Diabetes Mellitus
16,041
Diabetes Mellitus
15,046
Stroke
14,709
Stroke
15,554
Diabetes Mellitus
15,650
#9 Stroke
14,855
Stroke
14,838
Breast cancer
12,999
Diabetes Mellitus
14,697
Stroke
15,197
#10 Breast cancer
12,843
Breast cancer
12,551
Diabetes Mellitus
12,221
Breast cancer
13,466
Breast cancer
12,346

"Years of Potential Life Lost" represent total years lost to all persons who died before the age of 75. If it is expected that everyone typically lives to at least age 75, people who die younger are considered to have died prematurely. To measure this, L.A. County Dept. of Public Health (Public Health) uses "Years of Potential Life Lost, Before Age 75." For example, someone who died at age 63 is measured as having lost 12 years of expected life, whereas, someone who died at age 80 is measured as having lost no additional years of expected life. For deaths during the year, Public Health calculated years of expected life lost for all who died before age 75. By adding up the total years of potential life lost for each cause of death, Public Health identified the leading causes of premature death.

Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health