U.S. Influenza (Flu) and Pneumonia Death Statistics

Influenza Flu Pneumonia Deaths Mortality

In 2016, flu and pneumonia caused

51,284 deaths

—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Influenza and pneumonia rank among the most deadly illnesses in the United States. Influenza—the flu—is caused by a virus, with symptoms including coughing, fatigue, and fever. [1]

While the flu is not typically fatal, it is highly contagious and can be deadly to children, seniors, and other vulnerable populations. Pneumonia, a serious condition in which the lungs fill with fluid, commonly results from a flu infection. [2]

How do flu and pneumonia death rates vary by state?

The states with the highest age-adjusted death rates from flu and pneumonia in 2016 were Hawaii (24.4 deaths per 100,000 people), Mississippi (23.4) and Tennessee (20). These states have had relatively high death rates in other years as well. 

To see data for different years, drag the time-slider beneath the map.

How do flu and pneumonia death rates differ by demographics?

By Sex

Nationally, men are more likely to die from ILIs than women. In 2016, 15.8 men per 100,000 died from ILI's; for women, the rate was 11.8 per 100,000. Certain populations of women are more susceptible to the flu than men, such as pregnant women or women up to two weeks postpartum [2]. 

Both men and women have experienced major declines in flu and pneumonia death rates. In 1999, 28.5 per 100,000 men died from these diseases; for women, the rate in 1999 was 20.6 per 100,000 women. 

By Race

Deaths from ILIs affects certain races at slightly different rates.  Nationally, African Americans have the highest rate of ILI mortality. (Local measures for specific race groups may not be available because there is often not enough mortality data for the CDC to report a reliable rate.)   

Racial disparities in deaths from the flu and pneumonia come about as a result of a variety of factors. People of color tend to be poorer, and may thus be more likely to lack sufficient access to effective medical care and flu shots. Data from the CDC on the 2012-2013 flu season showed white people received the most flu shots at 44.6 percent compared to African Americans who had the lowest at 35.6 percent [3].

More Information

The most effective way to avoid the flu is to get vaccinated before flu season every year. In addition to getting a flu shot, there are many habits that can help prevent the flu and similar illnesses . Some of these health habits include: avoid close contact with someone who is sick, cover your mouth and nose, and clean your hands.

1. Flu Symptoms & Complications. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018. 

2. What is the Connection Between Influenza and Pneumonia? American Lung Association, 2018.

3. Pregnant Women & Influenza (Flu), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017. 

4. Flu Vaccination Coverage, United States, 2012-13 Influenza Season, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017. 

About the Data

Data was queried from the CDC Wonder API: Underlying Cause of Death, ICD-10 codes: J10-J16, J18.

The charts below show the CDC's age-adjusted rate, rather than crude rate, to account for variations in age-distribution in different populations.