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Financial Planning > Tax Planning

Death and Taxes: Are They Related?

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There’s a saying that the only certainties in life are death and taxes — but are the two related? In other words, does a high death rate coincide with high tax rate, for example, or do higher taxes bring on high death rates? ThinkAdvisor decided to explore the relationship by checking U.S. states with the highest mortality rate per capita versus those states with the highest sales, property and income tax rates. The findings can lead to some general conclusions — for example, high taxes won’t necessarily kill you.

But the certainty remains. In our comparison, we used 2017 data on mortality rates per 100,000 people per state from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. For highest tax burden per state we used 2018 data from WalletHub for overall tax burden per state.

One notable mention, especially for retirees: Only four of the 10 states with the lowest mortality rates are warm-weather states — Hawaii, No. 51 in mortality; California, No. 50; Florida, No. 44; and Arizona, No. 42. Hawaii and California also are high-tax states, while Florida is No. 47 as far as overall tax burden (6.64%), and Arizona is  No. 31 on overall taxes (8.21%).

Each listing provides the state ranking for highest death rate per capita and highest tax rate: The death per 100,000 is provided, as well as the overall tax rate. Notice states’ corresponding ranking in death and taxes. For example, Indiana has the 10th highest death rate and the 24th highest tax rate. Meanwhile, California has the 10th highest tax rate and the 50th highest death rate. Note there are no overlaps. To see all state mortality and tax rates, check out the map below.