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David Morgan
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Chronic Disease Deaths Decline in New Mexico

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reports death rates from chronic diseases—such as heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and stroke—declined in our state in 2018 compared to the year before.

The new data is published in the report, Highlights of New Mexico Vital Statistics 2018, which examines births and deaths among residents of New Mexico.

In addition to those decreases, 2018 data also shows rates of suicide, homicide, flu and pneumonia, and unintentional injuries rose compared to 2017.

“The declining rates for death from chronic diseases is great news, but the numbers show the need to do better in prevention of injuries and deaths of despair statewide,” said NMDOH  Cabinet Secretary Kathy Kunkel.

Compared to the most recent United State rates, the rate of unintentional injuries in New Mexico is 40 percent higher, the rate of suicide is 77 percent higher and the rate of homicide is 74 percent higher.  

Data for 2018 show suicide and homicide rates were three times higher for men in New Mexico than women. The American Indian population had a rate of homicide three times higher over any other group.

Life expectancy at birth for the population of New Mexico in 2018 was 78.1 years, a slight decrease from 78.2 in the prior year. Life expectancy declined for males from 75.3 to 74.9, while life expectancy for females increased from 81.2 to 81.5 years.

The birth rate among New Mexicans continued to decline to a new record low of 11.0 births per 1,000 population. The birth rate has declined each year for the past 11 years. Similarly, the US  birth rate for 2017, at 11.8 per 1,000, is a record low for the nation. The age-specific birth rate declined from the prior year in every maternal age group under the age of 40 years old. The decline in teen birth rates since 2007 continued through 2018 with a nine percent drop in the teen birth rate from 2017 to 2018.

For this and other health data for New Mexico, visit


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