More young adult lives lost in Wisconsin, even as death rates down for older adults 

More Wisconsinites are dying in the prime of life, from causes that chiefly include COVID-19 or drug overdoses, according to a new report from Wisconsin Policy Forum. A troubling trend for Black Wisconsinites is disproportionately large increases in deaths from overdoses or homicides. However, the report states these facts should not overshadow another encouraging mortality trend: Wisconsinites are dying at lower rates in their later years.

Over the last two decades, Wisconsin and the nation have seen marked declines in three leading causes of mortality: heart disease, cancer, and stroke. This has contributed to a sizable decline in death rates among Wisconsinites ages 65 and up from 2001 to 2021 and done so even despite a recent uptick in mortality due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show.

Yet these developments exist alongside a darker reality for younger people: by 2021, in Wisconsin and nationally, people had become much more likely to die in their 20s, 30s, or 40s.