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HPIO analysis finds spike in deaths among working-age Ohioans

WorkingAgeTrend_Graph_StandAloneOhioans between the ages of 15 and 64 are dying at a much higher rate than they were 15 years ago, according to new analysis from the Health Policy Institute of Ohio.

The analysis, which is compiled in a new data snapshot, “Death Trends among Working-age Ohioans,” found that the number of deaths among working-age Ohioans increased 51% from 2007 to 2021, from 25,885 to 39,034. If the annual number of deaths had remained constant since 2007, 58,344 fewer working-age Ohioans would have died.

“These mostly preventable deaths have a tremendous impact on Ohio families, communities and society,” according to the data snapshot. “In addition, the loss of a large number of working-age adults negatively affects Ohio’s economy and businesses.”

The increasing death rate for working-age Ohioans is part of a long-term trend, starting in the early 2000s, in which Ohio is doing worse than the U.S. overall. That trend, combined with the long-term decline in Ohio’s labor force participation rate and recent factors related to the pandemic, have made it more difficult for Ohio employers to fill open positions.

“There are many effective strategies to address addiction, promote mental health and support access to healthy food and physical activity,” all factors that could improve Ohio’s working-age death rate, according to the analysis. “Public and private partners can work together to ensure more Ohio workers have the opportunity to live a healthy and productive life.”