A Look at the Data in Michigan’s 2020 Deaths

A Look at the Data in Michigan’s 2020 Deaths

(Kurt Metzger, Jan. 12, 2022)

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has released data on deaths that occurred during 2020.  As expected, deaths increased across the state, with Michigan as a whole experiencing an 18.2 percent increase between 2019 and 2020, going from 99,095 to 117,087.

COVID, which ranked as the third highest cause, accounted for 11,362 of the 17,992 difference.  The remaining 6,630 deaths mark the largest year-to-year change, in and of themselves, in a trend of increasing deaths that began in 2009.

Oakland County experienced a slightly higher increase, 19.5 percent, as the annual trend of increasing deaths (Figure1) took a 2019-20 jump.  A total of 1,401 deaths were attributed to COVID (see Figure 2), accounting for the third highest cause overall. COVID ranked 4th among those under 55 years of age; ranked 3rd for those 55 – 84; and ranked 2nd among those 85 and over.  Figure 2 illustrates that Heart Disease and Cancer maintained their long-held positions of 1st and 2nd in 2020, with COVID moving “Stroke” and “Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases” down one rung apiece, to 4th and 5th.

Removing COVID deaths from the total year-to-year increase leaves an increase of 706 deaths, far more than the year-to-year increases the county has experienced since 1980 at least.

COVID’s share of total growth in deaths – 66.5 percent – was higher than that of the state – 63.2 percent, indicating its significant impact.  A total of 1,204 persons over 65 years of age died from COVID, accounting for 86 percent of all COVID deaths in the county.

Expectation?  While the 2021 numbers will be a long time coming, we already know that COVID deaths are up in Oakland County and across the State.  These will combine with increasing deaths due to an aging population to bring another large increase.  Let us hope that 2022 will finally bring relief.


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