8 in 10 People Who Have Died of COVID-19 Were Age 65 or Older – But the Share Varies By State  

A new KFF analysis finds that 80 percent of people who have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. to date were age 65 or older, though the share varies considerably by state — from a high of 94 percent in Idaho to a low of 70 percent in the District of Columbia.

The analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides clear evidence of the toll that the novel coronavirus has taken on older Americans. It also provides a more detailed picture of where the impact on seniors has been the greatest.

The analysis finds that states that have seen the largest share of COVID-19 deaths among people 65 and older include those that have had a disproportionate number of deaths in long-term care facilities. These states include Idaho (with 94% of deaths among those 65 and older), New Hampshire (92%), Massachusetts (90%), Rhode Island (90%), Minnesota (89%), Connecticut (89%), Pennsylvania (87%), Ohio (86%), Kentucky (84%), and Delaware (83%).

States in which deaths among those 65 and older account for a somewhat lower share of all COVID-19 deaths compared to the national average are in the South and Sun Belt. Many of these states are hotspots where the virus has surged more recently and where deaths among older adults may be lagging, including Alabama (where 76% of COVID-19 deaths are among those 65 and older), Tennessee (76%), Nevada (75%), Arizona (74%), Mississippi (74%), Arkansas (71%), New Mexico (71%), and Texas (70%).

For more data and analyses regarding older Americans and the novel coronavirus pandemic, visit kff.org.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.