The state mortality numbers for the first half of September are starting to firm up, and the figures for people ages 25 through 44 look especially bad.
The numbers mean that the pandemic could have more of an effect on life insurers that insure the lives of working-age people, not just for insurers that sell final expense arrangements, or other products aimed at people ages 65 and older.
For health insurers, COVID-19 spikes have tended to have a nearly neutral effect, because reductions in claims for routine care mostly offset any increases in the cost of caring for people with COVID-19. But life insurers have reported that earlier COVID-19 spikes have had a noticeable effect on life insurance claim costs, even when the spikes were having a modest effect on the death rate for people under age 65.
In the first two weeks ending in September, the number of deaths of U.S. residents in the 25-44 age group spiked to 8,604.
The number of deaths of people in that age group was 22% higher than it was during the comparable period, and 57% higher than it was during the comparable period in 2019 — before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
In the first half of 2021, which included the January spike, the number of deaths of people in the 25-44 age group was 38% higher than in the first half of 2019.
There are about 87.4 million people in the 25-44 age group in the United States, according to the Census Bureau.
In recent years, the typical death rate for people in the 25-44 age group has been about one death per 580 people per year.
In the first half of September, the death rate increased to the annualized equivalent of about one per 370 people.
For the five states with the worst increases in the number of deaths of people ages 25 to 44, for the first two weeks ending in September, between 2019 and 2021, based on the unweighted CDC data for the weeks included, see the slideshow above.
For data for all 50 states, based on the CDC’s unweighted data, see the table below.
Other Age Groups
The COVID-19 delta variant also led to an increase in the death rate for Americans in other age groups, but the picture for the 25-44 age group was worse than the picture for the rest of the population.
The total number of deaths of people in all age groups for the first two weeks ending in September increased about 36% from the count for the comparable period in 2019, to 141,860.
Vaccination efforts, social distancing efforts and other factors held the rate of increase for people in older age groups. For people ages 85 and older, for example, the number of deaths in the first two weeks ending in September, increased just 15%, to 36,213.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts state-by-state death counts, broken down by age, in spreadsheets that are updated weekly.
Many states take months or years to send the CDC complete data, but the figures start to look reasonably complete by about four or five weeks after the end of the period covered in the reports.
Many states — including Alaska, Delaware, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming — have 25-44 age group figures that are missing for 2019, for 2021, or for both years.
Other states may have figures that look like final figures but that are incomplete and will be revised in the future.
The CDC weekly data totals include the effects of the virus that causes COVID-19 along with the effects of all other causes of death.
Some of the increase in deaths of people ages 25 through 44 could be the results of the virus itself.
The increase could also reflect the effects of the pandemic on hospitals’ ability to care for people with conditions other than COVID-19.
A temporary boost in federal support for extra unemployment insurance benefits ended around Labor Day, and the increase in mortality could be due partly to the impact of increased economic stress due to cuts in unemployment insurance and other pandemic-related support programs.
Deaths of people ages 25-44 in the First Two Weeks Ending in September
|District of Columbia||NA||26||25|
|New York City||110||151||161|
|Source: CDC, Weekly Counts of Deaths by Jurisdiction and Age,|