U.S. Alzheimer's Disease Death Statistics

Alzheimers Disease Deaths Mortality

In 2016, Alzheimer's caused

116,103 deaths

—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Alzheimer’s disease (also just referred to as Alzheimer’s) is a degenerative brain disease that affects an estimated 5.7 million Americans [1]. 

The hallmarks of Alzheimer’s include memory loss and declining cognitive abilities, often leading to the devastating inability to remember or recognize loved ones. 

How does Alzheimer's result in death?

The progressive decline of cognitive and motor functions can be fatal. In such cases, Alzheimer’s is often attributed as the underlying cause of death. Alzheimers statistics can be skewed however, if the cause of death is not attributed properly.

The national rate of Alzheimer's deaths rose sharply starting in 2013. This sudden increase may be due in part to changes made to diagnostic protocols in 2011. [2] Because Alzheimer’s is only listed as the underlying cause of death in individuals previously diagnosed before death, an increase in diagnoses would likely cause a concurrent increase in statistics about deaths attributed to Alzheimer’s.

How do Alzheimer's statistics vary by state?

In 2016, Mississippi had the highest age-adjusted rate of Alzheimer's deaths, at 45.8 deaths per 100,000 people. New York had the lowest, with 13.1 deaths per 100,000 people. 

Note: use the time slider beneath the map to see data for different years. 

How do Alzheimer's statistics differ by demographics?

By Age

Alzheimer’s is a disease most often associated with the elderly. Roughly 96 percent—5.5 million— of all people living with the disease are over the age of 65, and it is the fifth leading cause of death for that age group. (For Americans under age 55, deaths attributed to Alzheimer's are extremely rare.)

By Sex

Age is not the only variable that matters. Between 1999 and 2016, significantly more women than men died from Alzheimer’s. According to the most recent national data in 2016, women are about 1.4 times more likely to die from Alzheimer’s than men. The difference in death rates between men and women is known to the medical community [3]—but the debate is still ongoing as to what physiological and social factors best explain this difference. 

While women and men experience significantly different rates of Alzheimer’s deaths, their national trends over the last twenty years appear fairly similar. Statistics show that both rates slowed their increase in the 2000s before sharply increasing starting around 2013 (again, possibly due to changes in diagnostic guidelines).

By Race

While Alzheimer’s fatality rates significantly increased for all races between 1999 and 2016, the magnitude of the rates are different for each race. Nationally, the age-adjusted rate was highest in 2016 for whites, and lowest for Asians and Pacific Islanders. 

Why race plays a significant factor in whether one dies from Alzheimer’s is still the subject of ongoing research. Corresponding social factors, such as early-life stresses and neighborhood conditions, may play an important role [4].

More Information

About the Data

Because Alzheimer's primarily affects older people, the charts show the CDC's age-adjusted rate, rather than crude rate, to account for variations in age-distribution and population size.

The data in this article was queried from the CDC Wonder API, based on the following parameters:

• UCD code: G30.